Today, with modern technology, we can offer the patient top-quality long-lasting fillings in a matter of one hour. The ever-increasing demand for aesthetic restorations (white fillings), together with increased longevity, has led to great advances in certain dental materials like porcelain. Porcelain fillings nowadays are made mostly chair- side, while you wait. The advantage of chair-side manufactured porcelain fillings using “cad cam” technologies – like Cerec restorations – is that they have the same success rate as gold: 93 per cent after 15 years. The wear on porcelain fillings is similar to that on a tooth. On molar teeth, which sometimes require a larger filling, they are the material of choice. They are metal free and biocompatible.
The other white fillings used today are composite resin fillings – sometimes referred to as plastic fillings. These fillings do not have the same success rate as porcelain or gold. They cost less but need to be replaced on average every 4 to 5 years whereas a Cerec porcelain filling can last up to 15 years and longer. On molar teeth that sometimes need a larger filling they are not particularly strong and tend to fracture after a few years.
In times of financial constraints it makes more sense to evaluate the longevity and cost of dental restorations, not in isolation but in combination. Over the long run to the cost of placing one porcelain filling is less than placing 3 to 4 composite resin fillings in succession on the same tooth.