What is a white filling?
A filling replaces a part of the tooth that has been lost due to decay or accidental damage. For over 150 years fillings have been made out of a silver material called amalgam. Although it is a strong material, it is certainly not the most attractive!
The alternative is what are called 'white fillings', using materials that match the colour of your tooth. The aim is to make it impossible to tell that a filling has been placed. Sometimes white fillings can be used to cover unsightly marks on teeth.
The technology behind white fillings has improved considerably in the last few years, and their strength will now match that of amalgam fillings.
What is involved?
Fillings are usually a very simple and straightforward process. The area around your tooth will be numbed with local anaesthetic and then the decay together with possible old fillings will be cleared out. Weak parts of the tooth may be removed to lessen the risk it will break off later.
Unlike silver fillings, white filling materials stick to the tooth surface. This means that less tooth is drilled away.
Once the cavity has been cleared out and conditioned, a filling material is matched to the colour of your tooth and then placed. It is set (hardened) with a specially designed bright light.
At the final stage, the filling is trimmed and polished so it fits in more naturally with the contours of the rest of your tooth.
Can you replace older amalgam (silver) fillings with white fillings?
Absolutely! In fact, we highly recommend it. White fillings are, in a majority of cases, almost impossible to notice. That's because they can be matched and shaped to the existing colour and contours of your tooth.
How does teeth whitening affect white fillings?
The colour of the fillings are permanent, they don't yellow (or whiten) like the rest of your teeth. To make a filling as invisible as possible, its colour is matched to the colour of the rest of your tooth at the time the filling is made.
If you are considering whitening your teeth, then we recommend doing it BEFORE you do a filling, so that all your teeth (including the new filling) are the colour you want them to be.