A filling replaces the part of your tooth affected by decay. Before white fillings patients were given amalgam fillings—a metal-based filling that required healthy tooth structure to be removed and did not necessarily provide an effective, long-lasting solution.
Amalgam (silver) fillings
Amalgam fillings are unsightly and unhealthy. The complete opposite of white fillings. White fillings are colour-matched to your teeth and only require the decay to be removed. Metal fillings expand and contract in extreme temperatures which can cause your tooth to crack or split. If this happens, you may need a dental crown to protect and strengthen your tooth. However, if your tooth cracks below the gum line, it may need to be extracted.
Amalgam (silver) fillings also raise concerns about the health effects of having these kinds of materials in the body. However, there is not enough conclusive evidence to point one way or the other. What we do know is that composite fillings fill the gap better and look much more attractive than amalgam fillings.
Composite (white) fillings
Made from a tooth coloured material, white fillings are used to replace decay and restore your tooth. Once the decay is removed, the filling is placed and set with an ultraviolet light.
White fillings can be used to repair a chipped or cracked tooth, reshape a tooth or close small gaps. If the cosmetic problem is on the back teeth, then you may require an inlay or onlay as white fillings are not strong enough over large spaces. Inlays and onlays are stronger than composite fillings and also have the added benefit of being tooth coloured.
Unfortunately, discovering decay is often a natural part of visiting the dentist. It is the leading health problem found in children and affects many adults as well. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! Decay is entirely preventable if a proper oral health routine is adhered to. This means brushing teeth twice a day for about two minutes, flossing between each tooth once a day and visiting the dentist for a professional clean once every six months. We also strongly recommend limiting or removing processed sugars from your diet as this is a leading factor in developing decay.
Decay is formed by bacteria in the mouth reacting with sugars and acids left over by food and drink and eroding healthy tooth structures. If left untreated this erosion can continue and cause extensive damage, weakening teeth beyond repair. Eventually, the tooth will need to be extracted or fall out by its self.