White Fillings – Composite Fillings
White composite fillings are the modern way of filling cavities in teeth. Cavities (also known as caries) occur when plaque builds up on our teeth and starts to cause tooth decay. Over time the plaque will eat away at the tooth and cause small holes. Complications then follow as the corrosion can begin to eat away at the pulp (centre of the tooth, where the nerve is) of the tooth, which can then cause a severe toothache. In extreme cases, a root canal procedure will save the tooth.
We always strive to save our patient’s natural teeth as they will always be the best set that you will ever get. Modern advances in dentistry do mean replacement teeth are very good at acting like natural teeth. Still, they will always be considered as a “foreign body”. We only extract teeth as a last resort.
How Do White Fillings Work?
Filling up the cavity with a white filling will stop bacteria from getting into the tooth and causing any further harm. Initial cavities will be hard to spot by a patient as they may not cause any pain. We recommend regular visits to your dentist so we can spot the early signs of tooth decay and prevent any further issues from arising.
What To Expect During The Filling Procedure
- We may use local anaesthesia to numb the tooth’s area before placing the filling.
- The dentist will then remove tooth decay from the afflicted tooth’s enamel using professional tools, preparing the space for your new filling.
- if you have a bonded filling, we will etch the tooth with a gel before placing your filling
- Depending on the type of filling, your dentist may apply a resin application that will harden under bright light, making your new filling strong.
- The final step will be for your dentist to polish your filling.
Each filling treatment will vary in length depending on which tooth requires the treatment and the cavity size that needs filling. Your dentist/dental team will advise you how long the appointment is when booking.
Why Choose Composite Over Amalgam Fillings?
Traditionally silver amalgam fillings were the most commonly used materials when filling a cavity. In contrast, now, composites are being more widely used. They were much stronger and longer lasting than their composite counterparts. However, composites have come on in leaps and bounds over the years, making them stronger. Amalgam was the preferential choice for larger surface area fillings.
One of the most significant risks that a filling can face is exposure to excessive forces. The larger the filling, the bigger the surface area exposed to these forces and will have a higher chance of fracturing (please ask us about our bruxism treatments).
Fractured fillings are often a risk for patients who are heavy jaw clincher’s or grind their teeth regularly.
With the above in mind, if you damage your filling, amalgam fillings will not fuse with the new filling, and it will always be best to replace it entirely. Every time you take out a filling, it makes the hole even more significant. It can get to the point that a different type of restoration may be required to repair the tooth. Composite fillings are a different story. The new composite material can easily connect the tooth and the existing filling.
More and more patients opt to have composite fillings over amalgam. Composite fillings match your natural tooth colour, making it a very discrete option. Amalgam fillings give a dark tint on the tooth, which is noticeable and becomes even more pronounced as the filling ages.
The most significant controversy concerning amalgam fillings is that it contains the component mercury. There hasn’t been any conclusive evidence or dental research to say the long term adverse effects of having these types of fillings. Still, we are seeing more and more patients who prefer composites for this reason.
Amalgam fillings make an excellent thermal conductor because they are metal. It is not uncommon for patients to experience thermal sensitivity when exposed to hot or cold substances. Composites are made from a plastic material and are very poor thermal conductors, which is less experienced when having these fillings.
Amalgam fillings require several hours to harden before being used (eating, etc.). As soon as you have a composite filling placed, the hardening process is immediate so that you can continue your daily life as usual.
As you can see, there are a lot of points for both composite and amalgam types of fillings. If you are not sure which option will best suit your needs, please do not hesitate to ask a member of the dental team or your treating dentist.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
Cavities are linked with poor oral hygiene habits and the foods and drinks we eat regularly. Sugary sweets and beverages are some of the worst culprits of tooth decay. When we eat or drink them, they leave a sugary film over our teeth, producing an acid that actively eats away at our teeth. If you have a sugar fix, we recommend rinsing your mouth out with water to take the sugar off your teeth, or even better, to brush your teeth there and then.
Over time our teeth will naturally contract bacteria and acid, which will attack teeth. Still, our lifestyle choices can determine how quick this occurs.
Book Your Check-Up Today
If you haven’t been to your dentist for a while, please call us and book your dental check-up. Our friendly team will be more than welcome to help with any questions. We accept new private patients.