White fillings are used to restore the form and function of damaged teeth, in a manner that is more pleasing to the eyes compared to dark-coloured amalgam (silver) fillings that were used in the past. White fillings are also more durable than silver fillings – and these tooth-coloured fillings are safer to use since they do not contain mercury, which can be harmful to the health.
We encourage patients to have mercury free fillings using light cured composite fillings. We have been successfully placing white fillings in back teeth for over 25 years with a high degree of success and confidence of their durability.
Composite fillings are made from very fine silica in a resin matrix. This type of filling has been around for many years, and significant improvements have been made to make the placement of these fillings very successful.
Composites offer advantages over the old-style packed amalgams. They are available in a variety of shades, so it is possible to “colour match” the filling very closely. This makes the new filling almost invisible in natural light.
Less tooth substance will need to be removed in order for the filling to stay in place, which means that less of the existing healthy tooth structure will need to be touched. This also means the filling will be smaller and last longer than if we use amalgam. Composite fillings are bonded to the tooth enamel and dentine, thus ensuring that bacteria cannot get underneath the filling and cause early failure.
Composite fillings contain no mercury.
Porcelain inlays offer superior durability and strength. They are recommended in cases when the filling is very large. In complex restorative cases, the filling can be made so it functions very accurately with the opposing teeth in the mouth.
The porcelain inlays treatment is a 2-visit technique where the filling is manufactured in a dental laboratory, and then cemented into the tooth. These restorations are made from exceptionally strong reinforced porcelain that shares very similar physical and chemical properties to natural tooth enamel.
Laboratory fabricated white fillings using composite or porcelain are also available.