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White Fillings

A white filling is a form of dental composite; which is an acrylic resin that can be moulded to the shape required, in order to fill cavities or close gaps in teeth, replace metal or amalgam fillings, or to complete a smile makeover by reshaping some of the teeth. White composites are particularly useful because they can blend seamlessly with the colour and texture of natural teeth, making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Recently, older patients who were treated with amalgam or silver fillings in the past have had them replaced with this more aesthetically pleasing alternative. The safety of mercury fillings has also been called into question by many dentists, and some people have had them replaced with white fillings for the health benefits as well as their appearance. Although white fillings are ideal for small cavities, they are not suitable if the cavity covers a very wide surface, because the material is not as structurally sound over larger areas. They are more suited to teeth with small holes in places that won’t be exposed to huge amounts of pressure. 

Patients who might need a composite bonding procedure should be aware that a local anaesthetic is usually administered – though not in all cases, via an injection directly into the gums. The area to be treated is then thoroughly cleaned to remove any plaque or tartar, and then roughened so that the filling can bond directly to the surface of the tooth without impediment. The next part of the process is to match the shade of the composite to the natural colour of the teeth, this is an important step, if the shade is wrong, it will be obvious where the reconstruction has taken place and will defeat the white fillings purpose somewhat. Next, etch and bond is applied to the tooth, this bonds with the chemicals in the composite and cements it solidly to the tooth;s surface. In order to harden the white filling and set it permanently in place, a curing light is shone over the tooth which reacts with the gel. Generally, it takes several thin applications to get the desired result; an even, natural-looking layer that adheres to the shape of the tooth. Following this, the dentist will then clean and polish the tooth to complete the procedure.

Not all dentists possess the artistic technique required to produce the best cosmetic fillings, at the Pearl Dental Clinic, there are several highly skilled dentists who can provide this treatment. 
In the same way as with many other surgical procedures, it’s down to you to take care of your new teeth after you have left the dentist’s office, this will greatly affect the lifespan of your fillings. The durability of white composites is slightly less than that of the old-fashioned amalgam fillings, but they can last on average around 5 years, if you don’t grind your teeth or eat excessive amounts of sugar. Bad habits such as drinking a lot of red wine can also lead to some staining over time, and could compromise the aesthetics of the tooth. 

The cost of composite fillings is one of the reasons they are so popular, lots of patients chose them over porcelain veneers or crowns, because of the difference in price. Many dental surgeries will charge white fillings at a quarter of the price of their porcelain counterparts. Similarly, the treatment is far less time consuming and sees immediate results. If you have cavities or old metal fillings, it’s well worth considering a white filling over the more expensive alternative, especially if the problem concerns teeth that have smaller sized cavities.