White Fillings (Composite Fillings)
What is a White filling?
A white (or composite) filling is a tooth coloured plastic and glass mixture that is used to restore decayed teeth. White fillings can also be used for cosmetic improvements, as they can help mask discoloured or disfigured teeth. These composite resins (tooth-coloured fillings) provide good durability and resistance to fracture or decay in small to mid-sized fillings that need to withstand the pressures from constant stress and chewing.
How is a White Filling placed?
Your dentist will first clean your teeth and prepare the tooth in question for the filling. The dentist will then place the composite in layers, commonly using a special light, to harden each layer. Once this process is settled, the dentist will finalise the shape of the tooth by manipulating the composite into place. Finally, your dentist will then polish the composite to prevent staining and wear and to ensure it takes on a natural look.
What are the advantages of White Fillings?
Aesthetics is the main advantage of white/ composite fillings, as dentists can blend shades to create any colour, which will ultimately match up to the colour of your actual tooth. White fillings can also be easily manipulated into any shape required. Also, composite fillings bond to the tooth which supports the remaining tooth structure. This helps to prevent future breakage and insulates the tooth from excessive temperature changes.
What are the disadvantages of White Fillings?
After receiving a white or composite filling, patients may experience post-operative sensitivity. The colour of the composite filling can also change slightly if the patient smokes, drinks tea or coffee, or consumes staining foods. However, dentists can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the colour altering if a patient is particularly concerned with changes in tooth colour.
Ultimately, the best filling is no filling at all. You can dramatically decrease your risk of cavities and need for a filling by:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Flossing daily.
- Eating a balanced diet, preferably steering clear of sugars.
- Visiting the dentist regularly.
To read more about preventative dentistry and oral hygiene please click here.