White fillings are made of composite, consisting of resin and an inorganic material such as glass ceramics or porcelain, and are mainly used to fill cavities. Combined with enamel and dentin bonding techniques, white fillings restore teeth that have become damaged as a result of tooth decay or injury. White fillings are used as an alternative to amalgam fillings, which are aesthetically poor and may contain mercury, which could be toxic.
In some cases where a drill may be used, a local anaesthetic or sedative is injected into the gum tissue around the tooth to be filled, so your treatment will be pain-free. This may not be necessary if dental techniques such as air abrasion are used.
After removing plaque, tartar, decay and existing filling, the treatment site is cleaned and then dried. To aid bonding the tooth surface is etched and coated with a gel and bonding solution. Once prepared, the white filler material is placed into the tooth cavity or area to be filled, and then moulded to fit the tooth contours. A curing light is then used to harden the filler before it is trimmed and polished to look like a natural part of your tooth.
There are two types of white filling – direct and indirect – and they are based on the light used during the curing procedure. Direct white fillings or dental composites are hardened with a curing light after the white filling material is used to fill the cavity and moulded into the tooth’s shape. The direct procedure is used for dental treatments such as gaps, tooth-reshaping and partial tooth crowns. In the indirect procedure, the white filling material is first cured with light in a lab before it is placed within the mouth. This method is used more frequently for tooth cavities, gaps, reshaping, inlays and onlays, bridges, and partial or full crowns.
Inherent risks exist in all dental procedures, but the main concern with white fillings is their durability and potential shrinkage. However, new technology and dental procedures are resulting in stronger, longer-lasting and low-shrinkage white fillings.
The benefits far outweigh such problems, because white fillers:
Access to both interest-free and interest-bearing finance options that
allow you to spread the cost of treatment, making it more affordable.