Dental cavities are among the most common problems that affect people of all ages. In the past, the only option available to dentists for restoring crooked or chipped teeth was silver amalgam fillings. Although these fillings were cost-effective and long-lasting, they were not liked by many due to their distinct metallic appearance.
But times have changed now.; modern dentistry now offers a variety of options for restoring damaged teeth – without affecting one’s appearance and smile, thanks to tooth-coloured white fillings. If you’re wondering what fillings are and whether they are strong enough to restore damaged teeth, this blog is for you. So, continue reading to learn everything you need about tooth-coloured fillings.
What Are Dental White Fillings?
White fillings, also called bonded restorations, are tooth-coloured filling materials that are used for restoring the structure, aesthetics, and function of damaged teeth. Unlike silver amalgam fillings that cannot bond to the tooth structure, white filings can bond to the healthy tooth structure and do not require extensive tooth preparation. Hence, their name, bonded restorations.
What Are The Advantage Of Composite Fillings?
Composite fillings or white fillings offer several advantages over traditional amalgam fillings. These are:
- Aesthetics – being tooth-coloured, your dentist can precisely match the shade of these restorations with the adjacent teeth. As a result, these fillings blend in completely and become virtually indistinguishable from the neighbouring natural teeth.
- Tooth Conservation – amalgam fillings require sacrificing healthy tooth structure for placement as they cannot bond directly to the natural tooth structure. On the other hand, composite fillings bond directly to the tooth structure. Therefore, your dentist will only remove the damaged tooth structure and then apply the fillings, thereby conserving natural tooth structure.
- Safety – concerns have been raised regarding the safety of amalgam fillings, as old amalgam fillings may release mercury that is harmful to the body. That is why, many countries worldwide are now restricting or discouraging the use of silver amalgam for restoring teeth. On the other hand, composite fillings are safe for clinical use and do not cause any allergic or toxic reactions in the body.
Are White Fillings Better Than Metal?
Both composite and amalgam fillings have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, composite fillings are a winner if your prime concern is aesthetics and safety. On the other hand, amalgam fillings can last longer and be more cost effective – but, due to the issues they cause with your health we do not use them at our practice – nothing is worth damaging your health for, in our opinion.
Are Fillings Stronger Than Teeth?
No matter how high-quality or expensive a filing is, it cannot be stronger than one’s natural teeth. Why? Because our teeth are highly mineralised. They are covered on the outside by a very strong and durable layer called enamel which contains minerals. These minerals make dental enamel the strongest tissue in the body. In fact, currently, there is no filling available that is as strong or durable as natural teeth.
How Long Do White Fillings Last?
Several factors govern the average lifetime of white fillings. For example, the lifetime of white filings depends on the quality of the material used, the extent of tooth damage, the patient’s oral hygiene and dietary habits and, more importantly, the dentist’s skill and experience. However, according to the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, white filings can last for 3-4 years before they need repair or replacement. Furthermore, one can enhance the clinical life of white fillings by ensuring optimal oral hygiene and visiting their dentist regularly for checkups.
What Are The Pros And Cons of Different Dental Filling Materials?
There are two types of commonly used filings: amalgam and white fillings. Compared to amalgam restorations, white fillings offer various advantages. These include:
- Lifelike aesthetics and ability to blend in with the adjacent teeth
- Improvement in one’s smile and self-confidence
- Safe for use in the oral cavity
- Minor defects in white fillings can be repaired
At the same time, while fillings also have certain drawbacks:
- More expensive than amalgam
- Not as durable as silver amalgam fillings
- Tend to get stained over time, requiring repair or replacement
However, the negative impact on your overall health from amalgam means they are never used in our practice.
Are Composite Dental Fillings Harmful Or Safe For Humans?
In short, composite fillings are safe for use in humans. However, previously, concerns were raised regarding their safety, due to the presence of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in them, which is a toxic material. However, subsequent studies showed that the amount of BPA in white filings was too low to cause any untoward reaction. Furthermore, modern composite fillings are completely BPA-free. So, you can have your teeth restored with composite fillings without any fear or worry.
Can I Convert My Amalgam Fillings To Composite Fillings?
Yes, it is possible. In fact, it is recommended to get one’s old amalgam fillings replaced with safer white fillings. Why? Because older amalgam fillings can cause leaching or mercury that can be harmful. So, dentists often replace cracked or fractured amalgam fillings with fresh white fillings.
Are you looking for an experienced and qualified dentist to get your old amalgam fillings, or do you simply need to get your chipped teeth restored with white fillings in Bedford? If yes, you have come to the right place. Munro Hall clinic is the solution to all your dental problems. Whether you need dental fillings or porcelain veneers, we offer all dental services under one roof. So, book a virtual consultation appointment with us today and let us take away your dental worries!
Last Updated: February 1, 2023