Fillings—whether it’s filling a cavity, restoring another kind of tooth decay, reshaping a tooth or changing its color —are one of the most commonly performed dental procedures. There are lots of options available, but more patients request white dental fillings (also called natural or tooth-colored) because they blend in to the natural color of your smile.
But what exactly are white dental fillings? Here’s the answer:
White dental fillings are made from plastic and glass or quartz particles mixed with a synthetic resin—a soft, sticky substance that helps in molding the filling perfectly to the shape of your tooth. Then a special curing light is used to harden the filling and bond it to your tooth on a microscopic level.
Many people prefer white dental fillings because they aren’t as noticeable as amalgam (gold or silver) fillings. They can fit to any cavity no matter how tiny, come in a variety of shades, and will never stain or darken a tooth.
However, all fillings have a life span due to the natural wear and tear on your teeth over time. Because white dental fillings are softer in nature, they tend to be less durable than metal and need to be replaced more frequently. The average life span of amalgam fillings is about 13 years; the average life span of white dental fillings is about 8 years.
White dental fillings also need to be kept very clean or new cavities could form along their edges. This happens with amalgam fillings too, but the metal tends to seal in cavity-causing bacteria instead of allowing it to penetrate deeper into the tooth. To prolong the life span of your fillings, be sure to practice good oral hygiene! Brush your teeth twice per day, floss every night, and avoid sugary drinks, snack food, and chewing on inedible objects. Also, be sure to visit your dentist for routine checkups so you can catch any issues before they become more serious.
Because of the reduced durability, some dental plans do not cover white dental fillings in the back of your mouth—that is, the ones that aren’t visible in a smile. If you need a filling, check out your dental plan and make sure you know what your options are—but ultimately, the decision on which type of filling to use is best made between you and your dentist. You must take into consideration the size and location of the cavity, your health history, and any concerns you have about cosmetics.
Everyone should be able to smile with confidence. White dental fillings are a great way to keep your smile looking white and bright, but they’re not your only option.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team at My Family Dentistry! We’d love to hear from you and help you get a healthy, brilliant smile.