Once upon a time, the only option for patients who needed a filling was to have one made from metal amalgam. This is a strong and reliable material, but it is also very obvious in the mouth because of its grey or metallic colour, and particularly for fillings near the front of the mouth that means it is very obvious when you smile.
White fillings have been around for a long time, but for many years were considered less strong than their metal amalgam counterparts. These days, thanks to advances in materials and techniques used, white fillings are now considered almost as strong as metal amalgam fillings and have been proven to be very durable, able to withstand the forces generated by biting and chewing. They are now considered suitable for use anywhere in the mouth.
At The Dental Surgery Burnham, we offer the option for patients with existing metal amalgam fillings to have them replaced with white fillings. This is a simple procedure that should need just a single appointment here at our Burnham practice.
If you opt to replace your metal fillings with white ones, your dentist will numb your tooth with local anaesthetic and will carefully remove your old metal filling. They will also remove any additional areas of decay that may have built up around the filling, before shaping and preparing the cavity to receive a new white filling.
Whilst they are called “white” fillings, it is more accurate to describe them as “tooth-coloured” fillings, because your dentist will select a shade of filling material that closely matches the natural colour of your tooth, so that the filling will blend in seamlessly in your mouth and will not be obvious when you smile.
For larger cavities, your dentist may recommend an onlay or inlay, which are also made of tooth-coloured material and are a kind of half-step between a filling and a crown, to give additional strength to a weakened tooth.