Traditionally, fillings were made from amalgam, a combination of several metals that produces a strong and durable restoration. Amalgam fillings have been used for many decades now, but they aren’t the prettiest of restorations. Initially, amalgam fillings are silver-coloured, but over time they can darken and discolour. It’s a problem that can create dark patches in the mouth and which is less than aesthetically pleasing. This is where white fillings can provide an excellent solution!
White fillings can be used to fill small to medium-sized cavities or to mend other chips or small cracks in teeth. Unlike amalgam, white fillings are metal-free and are made from composite resin, a strong type of plastic material that comes in a vast range of different shades. When you have a composite resin filling, a Newcastle dentist can closely match the colour to your natural teeth, creating a virtually invisible restoration. White fillings are ideal if you would prefer a solution that is more cosmetically pleasing, and there are some other advantages too.
Amalgam and Composite Resin Work Slightly Differently in the Mouth
When you have an amalgam filling, it will flex and expand and contract when it comes into contact with hot or cold foods and drink or when you chew food. As you can imagine, the temperature in your mouth can change multiple times each day, every time you enjoy a hot coffee or a refreshing cold beverage. As the amalgam flexes, expands and contracts, it creates microfractures in the tooth, which over time, can eventually weaken the tooth.
Composite resin fillings in Clarington don’t have this quality and will not flex or change shape when they contact hot or cold or come under pressure. Because they don’t change shape or flex, composite resin fillings won’t cause microfractures in your teeth. Composite resin is what’s called a biomimetic material, meaning it is designed to closely replicate natural tooth structure, working harmoniously with your tooth.
Preserving More of Your Healthy Tooth Structure
When you need an amalgam filling, your dentist removes the damaged portion of the tooth and a little more tooth structure besides creating the right shape cavity to hold the filling in place. When you choose a composite resin filling, your dentist only needs to remove the damaged part of the tooth, preserving more of your healthy tooth structure.
Should I Replace My Amalgams with White Fillings?
If you are concerned about your amalgam fillings, our Courtice dentist can assess your fillings and discuss their removal if needed. All fillings must be replaced periodically, and we do review the condition of existing restorations during regular dental exams. When removing amalgam fillings, we take every precaution to keep our patients and staff safe, using high-quality filtration to remove any mercury vapour, and we ensure the amalgam is disposed of safely.
Can White Fillings Restore Larger Cavities?
If you have a larger cavity in a tooth, we may suggest a slightly different option other than a white filling. While composite resin is very strong, a large filling in a back tooth that you use for chewing can come under considerable pressure, and you may need a filling made of more durable material. One option is to have a porcelain filling called an inlay or onlay and which will restore your tooth beautifully and just about invisibly, replacing its strength and structure. Porcelain fillings are a little more expensive, but they do last longer. Usually, a white filling will last for several years before it needs replacing, ensuring your tooth remains protected.