White Fillings – Non amalgam fillings
White Fillings, which are also known as composite resins or porcelain inlays, allow teeth to be filled and rebuilt utilising more aesthetically acceptable materials such as composite resin or porcelain.
White Fillings do not contain mercury and are an ideal choice for achieving long term strength in filled teeth. Teeth that are heavily filled with large silver amalgam or mercury fillings are at risk of fracturing because the tooth is spread apart by these traditional filling materials. These teeth can be rebuilt with porcelain inlays (white fillings), which holds the tooth together as opposed to spreading it apart, preserving the remaining healthy tooth structure.
This allows teeth to be safely and aesthetically restored achieving a more attractive smile.
Made of: A mixture of plastic and fine glass particles.
Types: Direct and indirect. Direct fillings are placed by your dentist using a bright blue light that hardens the soft material. For indirect fillings, your dentist prepares the tooth and takes an impression of it. A laboratory or the dentist then will make the filling from the mould. During a second visit, your dentist cements this filling into place.
Used for: Small and large fillings, especially in front teeth or the visible parts of teeth; also for inlays
Lasts: At least five years
Costs: More than amalgam, but less than gold
- Your fillings or inlay will match the colour of your teeth.
- A filling can be completed in one dental visit. An inlay may require two visits.
- Composite fillings can bond directly to the tooth. This makes the tooth stronger than it would be with an amalgam filling.
- Less drilling is involved than with amalgam fillings. That’s because your dentist does not have to shape the space as much to hold the filling securely. The bonding process holds the composite resin in the tooth.
- Indirect composite fillings and inlays are heat-cured. This step increases their strength.
- Composite resin can be used in combination with other materials, such as glass ionomer, to provide the benefits of both materials.
- Composite resins cost more than amalgam fillings.
- Although composite resins have become stronger and more resistant to wear, it’s not clear whether they last as long as amalgam fillings under the pressure of chewing.
- The composite may shrink when placed, producing gaps between the tooth and the filling. This can lead to more cavities in areas where the filling is not making good contact with your tooth.
- The shrinkage is reduced when your dentist places this type of filling in thin layers.
- These fillings take more time to place. That’s because they are usually placed in layers. The increased time and labour involved also contribute to the higher cost.
- Indirect fillings and inlays take at least two visits to complete if your dentist is not prepared to make the inlay while you wait. Your dentist takes impressions at the first visit and places the filling or inlay at the second visit.