White fillings, known too as composite fillings, are a cost-effective and excellent option for treating damaged teeth. They are more cosmetically pleasing than the once-popular amalgam (metal) fillings and have several other benefits.
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What are white fillings?
White fillings are a popular and effective treatment for numerous dental issues, such as:
Repairing chipped, cracked or discoloured teeth
Improving the look of discoloured or oddly-shaped teeth
Replace defective or unsightly amalgam fillings
What are the benefits of white fillings?
Due to their numerous benefits, composite fillings are often used to replace old amalgam fillings. Their benefits include:
Less sensitive to temperature
Ability to better restore the original strength of a tooth by bonding to the tooth, preventing long term fractures
Less tooth is removed during filling preparation compared to amalgam fillings
Aesthetic properties – mask permanent stains, close gaps and reshape teeth
White fillings are an excellent treatment option for small areas of decay, fracture or cosmetic issues, though they still have their limitations. For larger areas of damage, high impact areas or bigger cosmetic demands, porcelain work such as veneers and crowns may be more appropriate. Your dentist will help you determine the best treatment option for your individual case.
Should old amalgam fillings be replaced with composite ones?
If you had fillings put in years ago they were in all likelihood made from a metal amalgam which contains mercury, silver, tin and copper. These types of fillings used to be very popular and were considered strong and durable.
Instead of being bonded to the tooth, amalgam fillings are ‘packed’ into the space. This means that over time the force of your bite can lead to cracks forming in the tooth and the tooth possibly splitting.
This, coupled with environmental concerns, has led to composite fillings being developed as a replacement. Composite fillings are stuck, or ‘bonded’, to your tooth, which means your dentist can be more conservative and remove less of your original tooth. There’s also far less chance of cracks forming and the tooth fracturing. White fillings also camouflage well with the surrounding tooth.
If you still have old amalgam fillings, then we recommend having them checked by one of our dentists to make sure they’re still in working order. We’ll perform a thorough check to ensure no decay has set in underneath the filling. It’s often the case that even if there are cracks, you won’t feel any pain or discomfort until a large portion of the tooth breaks or splits. This is why it’s vital to have regular check-ups, as being pain-free doesn’t necessarily mean all is well. IF we determine that replacement fillings are required, we’ll discuss you options with you in depth.
What is involved in filling a tooth?
First, your dentist will numb the area around the tooth so no pain or discomfort is felt. Then, specialised equipment is used to carefully remove any decay, and the area is cleared of debris and bacteria.
Composite material is then placed in layers, with each layered cured by a special light. Once this process is complete, we shape and polish the filling so it’s nicely camouflaged within your tooth. By the end, you won’t be able to tell the difference between you tooth and the filling.
Early detection is vital when it comes to fillings
By the time you’re aware of an issue, it can already be quite extensive. We always recommend regular check-ups so we can catch issues early on. Early detection is often the difference between minor treatments and more invasive procedures, such as root canals.
A tooth can deteriorate quickly once decay has set in. That’s why it’s so important that you make an appointment with one of our dentists as soon as you notice an issue. A tooth that has been significantly compromised may require extra strengthening, such as a porcelain onlay or crown. While these treatments are stronger and last significantly longer, they are also a greater financial investment.
Easy Payment Options
Did you know we have flexible payment options available? You can pay for your weekday and Saturday dental treatment with Zip, Afterpay or National Dental Plan. Dental treatments are important to your overall health, and it’s best to get that toothache sorted as soon as possible. With Zip, Afterpay and National Dental Plan, the benefits include:
At Fernvale Dental, we accept all major private health funds and can facilitate on the spot claiming with HICAPS! We are also proud to be part of the Members’ Choice network for Medibank Private, First Choice for NIB, the More for Teeth program with HCF and the Choice Network for CBHS! FIND OUT MORE