More often than not, a need for a white filling is preceded by tooth decay. If left untreated, this may lead to a broken tooth, nerve pain, dental abscess, swollen face and then eventual tooth loss, so we always advise our patients to get cavities filled as soon it is detected.
In an unfortunate event of tooth decay, we offer a variety of options such as amalgam fillings, composite fillings and glass ionomer fillings.
These are sometimes also called composite or cosmetic fillings. Made from composite resins or some time glass particles, we can match the shade to the nearest tooth hence the name “tooth coloured fillings”.
White or tooth coloured fillings make for a natural, aesthetically better and mercury-free alternative to traditional silver amalgam fillings.
Our dentists work with Filtek or similar products, which are the gold standard in cosmetic dentistry. Continued benefits include minimally invasive restoration, which means less drilling and keeping more of your natural teeth.
We can almost always replace fillings the same day when patients come with a lost or broken filling. We offer same day appointments for dental emergencies.
It is a mixture of tooth-coloured plastic and glass particles which is used in fillings and other procedures such as composite bonding. In the past, it had a reputation of a not-so-resilient material, so it was only used on front teeth. With the advances in technology and science, white fillings are resilient enough to bear the bite pressure of back teeth.
White fillings are preferred by most of our patients as they are aesthetically better and a close match to the shade of your teeth. Also, the fact that they require less drilling than the usual fillings make them the most popular choice.
The most significant disadvantage is that in the future, the colour of the filling can change slightly depending on dietary habits such as tea, coffee, red wine or other types of staining foods. This problem can be easily overcome if you ask your dentist to put a clear plastic coating over the teeth.
Some patients may also experience sensitive teeth for a couple of days after the restoration.
We feel the single most significant advantage of white fillings over silver fillings is that it allows us to preserve more of the natural tooth. With silver fillings, we need to drill the tooth in a particular shape for the tooth to hold the amalgam material, whereas with composite fillings, the materials bond to the tooth like an adhesive, which means you retain more of the tooth structure.
It takes anywhere between 30 minutes to one hour. The actual procedure is lengthier than the amalgam fillings; however, the apparent benefit is a more natural looking filling and more of the tooth structure is saved. It would be best if you prepared yourselves for up to an hour in the dentist’s chair.
These days the materials are incredibly durable and have an increased resistance to bite pressure and tooth wear. They are no more or no less durable than metal fillings but are a clear winner for aesthetic and cosmetic reasons.
Frequently the composite fillings last for about ten years, even more if you take excellent care and maintain a good oral hygiene like brushing and flossing every day.
Alternatives to white composite fillings are silver fillings – an amalgam of mercury, copper and tin. These are still a great choice as they are very resilient; however, some people consider them as a lesser alternative as they can be unsightly when smiling.