White fillings are an alternative to traditional amalgam fillings and have the obvious advantage that the composite material used is much closer to the natural colour of the tooth, than the visible metallic silver amalgam used in the past.
However, white fillings have other advantages too. Modern materials mean the composite used is hard-wearing and less likely to shrink or fall out in the future. It’s also free from any potentially harmful ingredients, e.g. mercury which may have been used historically in amalgam fillings.
You may hear of ‘direct white fillings’ and ‘indirect white fillings’. So what’s the difference between direct and indirect white fillings? It’s all about how much work needs to be done and where in or on the tooth it takes place.
Direct white fillings
When you think about getting a filling in a tooth cavity, you probably think about direct fillings first, whether you realise it or not.
Direct white fillings are inserted ‘directly’ into the tooth cavity and then carefully shaped and sculpted to match the surface contour of the tooth, to give a smooth, consistent finish that is no longer exposed to any painful stimulus.
A curing light is used to harden the composite once it is in place, triggering the chemical process by which the resin transforms from a pliable, workable material, into a solid, shrink-proof filling that can withstand the rigours of chewing and exposure to salty saliva.
Indirect white fillings
In contrast, indirect white fillings are created in a lab and fully cured before they are inserted into the patient’s mouth.
This naturally lends itself to more extensive procedures, such as partial and full dental crowns, bridges, inlays and onlays, but it can also be used for cavities, gaps and general reshaping.
Indirect fillings offer some advantages. For example, because they can be prepared in a laboratory in advance, the actual treatment time may be reduced, especially in more complex procedures or where several fillings are needed at once.
Which do I need?
You usually won’t need to worry about whether to get direct or indirect fillings, as your dentist will decide on the best way to carry out each procedure. However, if you’d like to know what you will be getting, just ask during your consultation.
Either way, rest assured that your dentist has your best interests at heart and will choose the method they believe will give the best result.
To find out more or to book an initial consultation, contact Ten Dental today on 020 7622 7610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a prompt reply.