White Fillings

1. Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are also called plastic or white fillings. Getting this kind of filling depends on where the tooth is in your mouth. We bite down hard on our back teeth (molars), so a plastic filling may not be a good choice. Talk to your dentist about other options.

To place this filling, your dentist cleans all decay from the tooth and puts a glue (or bonding material) on the inside of the hole. Composite resin is put into the hole in thin layers. Each layer is hardened with the help of a special ultraviolet light that your dentist holds over the tooth. When the last layer of the filling is hard, your dentist shapes the filling so it looks and feels natural.

Advantages

  • These fillings will be the same colour as your natural teeth
  • They cost less than gold fillings
  • They are direct fillings, so they can be done in one appointment, in most cases

Disadvantages

  • This kind of filling can break more easily than amalgam or gold fillings, and may not last as long.
  • Composite fillings cost more than amalgam fillings.
  • Recurrent decay is more of a problem than with amalgam or gold fillings.

2. Glass Ionomer Materials

Glass ionomer materials are only used in teeth where you do not bite down hard. There have not been many studies about how long this kind of filling lasts. Newer forms of the filling may be stronger and last longer. Research is underway to evaluate the effectiveness of these materials.

Advantages

  • These fillings are the same colour as your natural teeth.
  • They contain fluoride, which helps stop recurrent decay in the tooth.
  • They do not have to be put in layer by layer; thus, they are simpler to put in than composite resins.
  • They are direct fillings and can be done in one appointment, in most cases.
  • They cost less than gold fillings.

Disadvantages

  • They are not as strong and will not last as long as other fillings.
  • They cost more than amalgam fillings.

3. Porcelain Materials

Porcelain materials are the most common type of dental ceramic used by dentists. They are hard and brittle. Porcelain and metal can be combined to make a strong, tooth-coloured crown.

Dental porcelain is made in a dental lab. Unless you have a bad tooth-grinding habit or some other problem, a combination of porcelain and metal can be used anywhere in the mouth.

Advantages

  • Dental porcelain is the same colour as natural teeth.
  • These fillings last a long time.

Disadvantages

  • For teeth that bite down hard – like molars – ceramics are not a good choice. Fillings can break.
  • They are indirect fillings, so at least two appointments will be needed.
  • They cost more than most other types of fillings.

from the Canadian Dental Association, Inc.

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