In recent years, many dentists have recommended white composite fillings as the modern alternative to amalgam fillings. In fact, patients are also replacing their old amalgam fillings with the composite alternatives.
Most of us have had at least a filling or two in our lifetime, so we should be able to relate to what the procedure is about. White fillings contain a mixture of glass and plastic that can be used to restore teeth with cavities or decay. The tooth-coloured restorations are favoured for their aesthetic properties, being able to seamlessly blend to the colour of surrounding teeth to help produce a more natural and beautiful smile. Compared to metal fillings like amalgam, they are less visible in the mouth, hence not an eyesore that remains a major disadvantage of using amalgam fillings on front teeth.
The reasons for the growing popularity and widespread acceptance of white fillings may be attributed to three main reasons: health, beauty and comfort.
- Mercury-free: Informed of the controversial issues surrounding the mercury content in amalgams – and the potential health hazards – many patients are turning to composite fillings as a safer filling material.
What is the controversy about? Amalgam is an alloy that is made up of 50% of mercury, one of the most harmful metals in existence. When vapours from the toxic Mercury substance is gradually emitted from amalgams and metabolized into methyl mercury, it can be dangerous to the human body. Given that amalgam fillings commonly stay in the patient’s mouth for many years, even tiny quantities of Mercury vapours released into the body over a prolonged period has become a source of concern for many.
When vapours from the toxic Mercury substance is gradually emitted from amalgams and metabolized into methyl mercury, it can be dangerous to the human body.
- Who wants to announce their history of cavities? Unlike silver-coloured amalgam fillings that advertise the number of fillings you have in your mouth, the tooth-coloured materials that white fillings are made from blend in seamlessly with natural teeth. Cosmetic dentists recommend them because the produce the most aesthetic results for the patient.
Unlike silver-coloured amalgam fillings the tooth-coloured materials that white fillings are made from blend in seamlessly with natural teeth.
- Teeth/temperature sensitivity: White fillings are not as sensitive to temperature changes in the mouth as amalgams are, particularly when the latter has aged. Old amalgam fillings tend to expand or contract when they come into contact with hot or cold beverages in the mouth, resulting in teeth sensitivity – even causing tooth fractures, loosening and cracks.
White fillings are not as sensitive to temperature changes in the mouth as amalgams are, particularly when the latter has aged.