While as dentists we are committed to prevention rather than cure, we know that many patients will need a filling at some point in their life. In the past, when you needed a filling the only option was to use metal amalgam. We still use this material, which is strong and durable and perfectly suitable for teeth at the back of the mouth, but if you need a filling at the front of your mouth you will want a less obvious option.
The problem with metal amalgam fillings is their colour. They are silvery-grey, meaning they stand out and are noticeable when you smile. Fortunately, there is another option available: white or tooth-coloured fillings.
White fillings have been around for decades but techniques and materials have improved a lot in recent years. This means that while once white fillings were thought of as weaker than metal amalgam ones, they are now considered almost as strong as amalgam fillings.
More accurately described as “tooth-coloured fillings”, white fillings are made from a composite resin material, which your dentist will carefully match to the natural colour of your teeth. This means that they are strong enough to withstand the biting and chewing forces in your mouth whilst also blending seamlessly into your tooth, so nobody will know you have fillings.
If you have existing metal amalgam fillings, it’s also possible to replace them with white fillings. Whilst we don’t believe in treatment for the sake of it, if your metal fillings are old and worn, or if they’re causing you embarrassment when you smile, replacing them is a simple procedure.
Your dentist will take out the old filling and check there is no new decay. If they do find any more decay this will also be removed under local anaesthetic before a white replacement filling is fitted.