White Fillings

Composite White filling and amalgamWhat is a white filling?

Many people ask for a white filling in their tooth instead of amalgam. Here is a little bit of info about white filling materials and their comparison to silver fillings ie ‘amalgam’. Amalgam is a blend of mainly silver, mercury and copper and has been used for around 150 years to fill decayed teeth. It has a proven track record and is a reliable, durable and user friendly filling material. Concerns have been raised about the mercury content many times however evidence supporting this is poor and exposure to mercury in the environment is much higher from, for example, air pollution and food. However, white fillings are the filling of choice for many people for cosmetic reasons and in some countries amalgam fillings have been phased out altogether. ‘White’ or ‘Tooth Coloured’ fillings have been around for 30 years and are a blend of resin and filler. This is called ‘composite’ material and thus some dentists refer to these as ‘composite fillings’. This material is bonded or glued on to the tooth with a light flowing resin. and this is why  another name for them is ‘bonded fillings’ There has been many improvements to this composite material and to bonding techniques over the years and this has led to less complications.

What are the complication associated with a white filling?

In the early years there were problems with shrinkage of the bonding and filling material and this would lead to leaks, further decay and sensitivity. The bonding part of the process is very important and if someone has bleeding gums or excessive decay, or if the tooth is hard to reach, this bonding process can be compromised. The white filling material can pick up stains just like natural teeth so if someone smokes or drinks black tea or coffee this can be an added complication. For these reasons there are some cases where white filings may not be recommended. A high decay rate, poor toothbrushing or a tooth that is too badly decayed may mean another option is better for you.

What are the advantages of  awhite filling

Mainly that they look good! Especially important in the premolars or side teeth but also noticeable in the back teeth depending on the visibility when smiling or laughing.

What are the disadvantages of  a white filling?

The cost of composite filling materials is very high and the filling procedure is time consuming. This makes white fillings more expensive than amalgam fillings.
If you are considering a white filling or changing your amalgam fillings to white fillings, call Andersson Dental Care.

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