Fillings are a common dental procedure prescribed when part of a tooth is decayed or damaged. You probably already have one, or a few and they are more than likely the more traditional type prescribed by NHS dentists – amalgam, or silver fillings. These fillings are hard wearing, safe and serve their purpose well, but they aren’t the most attractive. They can be easy to spot in your mouth and can make patients self-conscious.
What Are White Fillings?
White or ‘composite’ fillings are now the most common option for filling a decayed or damaged tooth. They are a virtually invisible alternative to silver fillings as their colour makes them much less obvious in the mouth.
They are made of powdered glass, ceramic and resin and can be matched to the original shade of your tooth. White fillings can be used if you need a filling for the first time, or if you are replacing your silver fillings.
Are White Fillings Durable?
Yes – due to modern materials used in dentistry, white fillings are long lasting even on back teeth. In comparison to silver fillings, white fillings are bonded directly to the tooth so there is less chance of them falling out.
However, the durability of your fillings depends on a few factors: where the filling is in your mouth and the strength of your bite, for example. White fillings also do work better on small cavities.
How Long Does Getting White Fillings Take?
Of course, this depends on how many fillings you need but normally a filling can be done in one appointment.
What Is Involved in Getting a White Filling?
White fillings are performed under local anaesthetic. First, we clear the tooth of all decay and, using a bonding agent, place the layers of glass, ceramic and resin mix on top of the tooth to fill the gap. Each layer is hardened with a UV light and then the last layer is hardened, trimmed and polished.
There is some drilling involved, which often worries patients, but the procedure is quicker than getting other types of filling because white fillings bond to the tooth. Less drilling also means we save more of your natural tooth, meaning less actual filling.
Why Should I Get White Fillings?
White fillings are a great option if you’re self-conscious about your silver fillings and would like a less noticeable, more natural smile, especially as we can colour match your filling to your natural teeth.
You are also less likely to experience tooth sensitivity with white fillings as the material they are made from is less likely to conduct temperatures from hot and cold food and drink.
Some patients also worry about the risks associate with mercury exposure associated with amalgam fillings but with white fillings, this isn’t a concern.
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