White fillings, also known as Composite fillings, are an excellent cost-effective option for treating damaged teeth. They are more cosmetically pleasing than the previously the previously common metal (amalgam) fillings and have several other benefits.
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Composite fillings are a common and effective treatment for numerous dental issues, such as:
Repairing chipped, cracked or discoloured teeth
Improving the look of discoloured or oddly-shaped teeth
Replace defective or unsightly amalgam fillings
What are the benefits of white fillings?
White fillings are often used to replace old amalgam fillings because of their numerous benefits, which include:
Less sensitivity to temperature
Ability to better restore the original strength of a tooth by bonding to the tooth, preventing long term fractures
Less tooth is removed during filling preparation compared to amalgam fillings
Aesthetic properties – mask permanent stains, close gaps and reshape teeth
While white fillings are a good solution for smaller areas of decay, fracture or aesthetic issues they do still have limitations. For large areas of breakdown, high impact areas or for high aesthetic demand, porcelain work such as a crown or veneer may be recommended. The dentist will diagnose and help you determine the best treatment option for your individual case.
Should I replace old amalgam fillings with composite ones?
If you’ve had fillings done years ago they were most likely made from a metal amalgam which contains mercury, silver, tin and copper. These fillings used to be very common and were considered to be durable and strong.
Amalgam fillings aren’t bonded to the tooth, instead they are ‘packed’ into the space. This means that over time the force of you biting and using the tooth causes a high chance of cracks forming in the tooth and parts of the tooth splitting or fracturing.
The use of amalgam fillings is rare today due to the environmental concerns and composite fillings have since been developed in their place. Composite fillings bond or stick to the tooth which means the dentist can be more conservative and remove less of your original tooth. This also means less chance of cracks forming and the tooth fracturing. They also have the benefit of being able to camouflage into the tooth structure.
If you currently have old amalgam fillings, we recommend that you have one of our dentists check to see if they are still in working order. We’ll do a thorough check to make sure decay hasn’t set in underneath them and that they are still performing as needed. Often if there are cracks in the tooth, they won’t be painful until either a large portion of the tooth breaks or the tooth splits. This is why it is important to have your teeth checked regularly – even if you are not feeling any pain as we want to find any issues before you do! If replacement is required, we’ll discuss your treatment options in depth with you before going ahead.
What is involved in filling a tooth?
First, the area around the tooth will be numbed so no pain or discomfort is felt. We use specialised equipment to carefully remove any decay. Once we’re certain that all decay has been removed, we clean the area of debris and bacteria.
Composite material is then placed layers at a time, curing each layer with a special light as we go. Once layering process is complete, we shape and polish the filling so it appears no different to your natural teeth.
At the end of the treatment, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the filling and your own teeth.
Early detection is vital when it comes to fillings
Often by the time you are aware of an issue it is quite large. We always recommend having regular check ups so the dentist can any issues before they become too serious. Early detection can be the difference between a small preventative dental or larger treatment issues such as root canals.
Once decay has started on a tooth, it can deteriorate quite quickly. It’s important that you make an appointment to see one of our dentists as soon as you suspect an issue. Teeth that have been significantly compromised may require additional strengthening using a porcelain onlay or crown. While these types of restorations are stronger and significantly longer lasting than composite fillings they are a much larger financial investment.
We accept all major private health funds and offer on the spot claiming with HICAPS. We are proud to be Preferred Providers for the following health funds, meaning our patients have access to the highest rebates possible! Find out more…
We would love to see you for a check up before any problems arise so we can help you avoid additional treatments. Give our friendly staff a call to make an appointment on 07 3862 8300 or book online.