Also known as composite fillings, white fillings are a plastic material designed to build up and match the colour of your teeth. They can restore a decayed tooth or repair a defect. Although they are often used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, they may also be used on a back tooth when the restoration is small or may be visible. As a general rule they are less durable than metal or porcelain dental work, but are often an excellent solution where the amount of tooth being replaced is small.
How are white fillings done?
Like silver fillings, composites can be prepared and placed in one visit. After the decayed portion of the tooth is removed, your cosmetic dentist will use a very mild acid solution to “etch” the tooth surface, cleaning it for the next step. A bonding agent is brushed onto the prepared tooth, followed by several thin layers of the tooth-colored composite. Once the composite filling is placed, the material is chemically hardened, or cured, with a special light, and polished.
There are many reasons why most dental patients choose white fillings over metal fillings. The mercury in amalgam fillings is sometimes viewed as potentially toxic, and many patients feel that the white composite fillings represent a more advanced technology. Composite fillings are also less likely to contribute to tooth fracture than their metal counterparts. However, by far the most common reason for choosing white fillings over silver fillings is aesthetic – white fillings simply look more like teeth.