White Fillings

What are white fillings?

White fillings usually fall into 2 types which are composite and glass ionomer cements.  They both are very useful materials and are indicated in different situations.

Why would I need white fillings?

White fillings blend with your natural teeth so that they are much less visible than metal fillings.  They can be used on your front teeth to make them appear nicer or as a restoration on your back teeth.

Are they better than metal fillings?

Historically white fillings have not been as strong as metal fillings but as technology has advanced their strength has increased.  There may be certain situations where the metal filling may be more beneficial, for example large, deep fillings.

There are occasionally scares reported in the press regarding the safety of metal fillings.  To date there is insufficient evidence to question the safety of metal fillings.  Metal fillings have been be used for hundreds of years as a dental restoration.

 How long will they last?

Assuming that they are used in the correct situation and are well maintained white fillings on back teeth may last around 7 – 10 years.  On anterior teeth alot will depend on the bite. 

Can I replace my current fillings?

Yes, this can be done by removing the old filling and replacing with cosmetic white fillings. Your dentist will be able to advise if this is suitable in your own case however.

 What are the disadvantages to white fillings?

Over time they can pick up stain and discolour.  They are usually only indicated for small to medium sized cavities or defects.  For larger cavities a metal filling or crown may be indicated.