What are the pros and cons of white fillings? Our teeth are invaluable assets that deserve our best efforts to preserve and protect them. However, it is sometimes inevitable that we develop a decay or cavity. When cavities are not detected and dealt with at an early stage, they may grow deeper resulting in dental pain or worse, further deterioration to a point that requires a tooth extraction. As often as possible, a dentist will recommend tooth extraction as a last result. After all there is no real substitute for a healthy natural tooth. One of the treatment options available to a dentist upon detecting a cavity, is to preserve the tooth by filling the cavity with a dental material.
Tooth Filling Options
A tooth can be filled in several ways. Dental fillings are commonly divided into two categories: the old standard amalgam fillings, or more recent composite resin fillings. Amalgam fillings – also known as silver or mercury fillings – were commonly used in the past and prized for there robust properties and ability to withstand high chewing loads. The composite resin fillings, also known as white fillings, are better known for their direct bonding method, aesthetic appearance and technologically advanced properties.
White Fillings Advantages
White fillings, in addition to being the newer form of dental treatment for cavities, there are many advantages that the composite resin material offers:
Advanced Filling Material
The new generation fillings are made up of glass, quartz and other materials mixed with a resin compound. The flexible material composition also means that the dentist can better shape, mould and fashion the filling to meet the restorative as well as aesthetic needs of the patient. The material may be adapted for different applications: more rugged type to fill a molar tooth that has a higher chewing load or a less rugged version for front teeth. This can be achieved simply by varying the composition of the resin material.
Lifelike Tooth Material
The flexibility also extends to the tooth shade and likeness. With composite fillings, the dentist can offer you a palette of shades to precisely match your tooth colour while the restoration mimics the shine and translucent properties of natural teeth. Unlike gold and amalgam fillings, white fillings look natural and blend in seamlessly with the rest of your teeth – giving the impression that you were born with them.
There is a reason why white fillings are also known as direct filling materials. The composite resin material is directly bonded to the tooth using a highly effective light curing method. The direct bonding is not only easier and more straight-forward, it also helps to preserve your natural tooth structure when compared to the amalgam placement method. When placing amalgam fillings, dentists need to place undercuts in the dental preparation, resulting in the removal of healthy teeth structure.
To be objective, there is a flipside to the aforementioned benefits. As compared to a metal filling – like dental amalgams – white fillings are generally not as durable. As such, they may require a refilling every couple years or so. Still, as technology advances, many of the limitations that plaque the earlier generations of white fillings have been resolved and improved upon. As white fillings continue to evolve and grow as a preferred material and method for filling cavities, the possibilities are encouraging, to say the least.
If you are looking for a Cosmetic Dentist that offers directly bonded white fillings, contact us at Quality Dental in North Sydney on (02) 9922 1159 or visit www.qualitydental.com.au