Tooth Coloured Fillings (Composite Fillings)
Improve your Smile
Magee Dental Care offer patients the choice of cosmetic bonded tooth coloured restoration (often called composite, tooth coloured or white fillings) or the more traditional silver amalgam filling. Dental fillings are used as part of a treatment plan to preserve the natural tooth where the tooth has been weakened because of cracks, chips, breaks, cavities caused by decay or other reasons. The filling is placed to restore strength and also protect the tooth from future damage or decay. Silver amalgam fillings are very strong, so they are ideal for back teeth where there is heavy wear from chewing. However they do have the cosmetic drawback of turning black over time.
Benefits of Tooth Coloured Fillings
Most people don’t want silver fillings that show when they laugh or smile because they are conscious about the way they look. The benefits of white fillings include :
- No more dark grey unsightly silver fillings.
- Tooth coloured fillings in a variety of shades which can be matched closely to the colour of your own teeth.
- Composite fillings restore the natural appearance of the tooth.
- Tooth coloured filling material bonds to the tooth and may be effectively used to repair front teeth that are chipped, broken, decayed or worn.
- Composite can be used effectively as a “veneer” applied as a thin layer to the front of the tooth to improve its appearance.
- Composites are mercury-free, unlike amalgam which contains mercury and other metals.
- A tooth requires less preparation for a composite filling than for a silver filling.
- Composites bond to the tooth and so restore most of the original strength of the tooth, unlike silver fillings which can weaken teeth and make them more susceptible to breaking.
Is it worth replacing your amalgam fillings with tooth coloured ones?
It is usually best to change fillings when your dentist decides that an old filling needs replacing. Ask your dentist if a tooth coloured filling would be a treatment option for you. The NHS does not pay for tooth coloured fillings on the biting surfaces of back teeth and so many white fillings are only available privately.
Alternatives to fillings
There are alternatives to fillings, such as crowns and inlays although these involve removing more tooth and can cost more. Inlays may be better for some larger cavities that need to be filled. Veneers can be used on front teeth instead of crowns or fillings.
Your dentist will :
- Usually numb the area around the tooth with an injection – but some fillings may not need an anaesthetic.
- Remove the decay and any old filling material, using a small high-speed drill.
- Remove any weak part of the tooth which might break later.
- Shape the hole, so that the tooth will hold the filling in place.
- Place amalgam or the composite into the hole and carve the filling to fit the tooth.
- A thin metal band may be used around the tooth to keep the amalgam in place while it is still soft. A light cure will be used to set the composite filling.
- Ask you to close your mouth gently on the filling to check that it is the right height and comfortable.