White tooth-coloured (composite) fillings:
Tooth coloured fillings, also called white fillings, are dental fillings that restore and mimic the natural appearance of tooth structure. In addition to restoring teeth that have fractured or decayed, tooth coloured fillings may also be used cosmetically to change the size, colour and shape of teeth. This quality is particularly useful in closing gaps between teeth; repairing chipped teeth and making teeth appear to be more straight or even.
Advantages of tooth-coloured composite fillings (white fillings):
- They closely match natural tooth colour and appearance.
- They bond to tooth structure chemically and thus do not require the placement of slots, grooves or pins in healthy tooth structure to mechanically retain them.
- They completely harden in seconds instead of days required by some other materials.
- They may be used on front and back teeth without compromising aesthetics.
- If damaged they can be repaired.
- Alternatives to white fillings:
Alternatives to tooth-coloured fillings vary depending upon the:
(a) Size of the area to be restored
(b) Strength required of the filling material
(c) Aesthetics desired
(d) Desire for a longer lasting restoration.
The most aesthetic and long lasting alternatives to composite tooth colored fillings are laboratory fabricated composite inlays and porcelain inlays.
Non-tooth coloured alternatives:
Non-tooth colored alternatives to composite resin are gold inlays and dental amalgam.
- Gold inlays are very long lasting and more biocompatible. Placement of gold inlays requires at least two visits because gold inlays are made in our dental laboratory.
- Dental amalgam is also very strong, second only to gold among alternatives to tooth-coloured fillings. Dental amalgam fillings are also the least expensive alternative to white fillings and they require only one visit in order to place them.
Both metals, gold and dental amalgam, are stronger and longer lasting than composite resin (tooth colored) fillings.
The best choice for filling:
When it comes to selecting the best material for you and your particular teeth, a consultation will be needed to assess the clinical situation it will be in function and positioned. Strength, aesthetics, cost and longevity of dental filling materials may vary greatly in different situations and for different patients.
Some of the considerations we take into account when recommending a particular filling material for your teeth are the current condition of the teeth, the size of the area to be restored, the location of the teeth involved and the forces (chewing, shearing, grinding, etc.) being placed on the teeth during chewing and other normal movements of your jaw.