Patients who have had dental fillings in the past probably had dental amalgam replacements used by their dentists. Amalgam fillings have a dark, silvery color and as such, stand out every time you so much as smile or open your mouth. With amalgam fillings, you may as well send out the message that you have had dental cavity problems in the past. Though effective and durable, amalgam fillings draw unneeded attention.
With the breakthroughs in dental medicine and cosmetic dentistry however, it is now possible to protect your teeth and maintain their health whilst having a more beautiful smile. Most, if not all, cosmetic dentists now recommend using white fillings, which have more natural look. In fact, to the untrained eye, white fillings look no different from the enamel that naturally coats the teeth.
Let’s face it; no one needs to know that you once had dental cavities. With white fillings and a little cosmetic expertise, your teeth will look pristine and healthy—just as good as when you were free of cavities.
Here are some facts about white fillings that you should be aware of before getting them from your dentist.
- White fillings, technically known as composite fillings, are made from a quartz resin, an agent that’s sensitive to light. White fillings can be used for teeth at the front of the mouth as well as the back teeth and are specifically designed to withstand incredible levels of force—in other words, these fillings can more than handle chew and gnawing.
- The composites in white fillings are easy to manipulate for a better cosmetic effect and can be put into place in a process called “bonding,” in just one appointment. They can be customized to match any shade of teeth in order to blend in naturally.
- Before the white filling material is bonded to the tooth, it must first be prepared and conditioned for optimal retention of the composite filling. This preparation process can involve removing any existing decay, conditioning the enamel and preparing the dentin. After conditioning, a thin layer of resin is applied to the tooth, serving to bond it and the filling together.
- Although primarily sought after by patients in order to restore teeth to their original state before cavities set in, white fillings are also used by dentists to provide protection and added strength to weakened teeth.
- Unlike silver fillings, white composite fillings do not cause teeth to become weak. Furthermore, they contain no toxic substances such as mercury, which has been detected in minute traces in amalgam fillings.
- Teeth treated by white fillings are less likely to be prone to sensitivity to both hot and cold food and beverages. Sensitivity is a common problem that occurs with teeth that have been restored with amalgam fillings. The problem can be so bad that pain can be experienced in the years that follow treatment.
- Contrary to popular belief, patients can eat and drink immediately after application of their fillings. White fillings are instantly hardened by light, which the dentist ensures they are sufficiently exposed to.