The modern alternative is a composite or “white” filling, so called because the material used can be made to match the natural shade, texture and translucency of your own teeth, giving you a much better appearance when you smile than a traditional amalgam “silver” filling would. Composite fillings are usually made from glass particles, synthetic resin, and a setting agent.
White fillings have been the material of choice for dental fillings for more than two decades. With advances in materials and techniques, these fillings are now even more natural looking, more polished, and have an improved combination of strength, finish, and longevity than ever before.
Old failing, black metal amalgam fillings can create potential problems within our teeth. Research has shown that old amalgam restorations and dental fillings create stress on the surrounding tooth structure, and in the end, teeth can crack and break down, or decay could leak underneath these fillings.
If treated early, teeth have a better long-term prognosis. At Springhill Dental, we can advise when it is time to replace old amalgam fillings.
White fillings are a great treatment option for many people. However, when teeth have larger holes or cracks, we may recommend using porcelain crowns or porcelain onlays to restore the tooth to full strength. Porcelain onlays and crowns are stronger, and will usually outlast white fillings. This returns the integrity to your tooth and helps to prevent fatal fractures, and further breakdown that could lead to root canal treatment or extraction.
White Fillings may last from just a few years right up to a few decades. Generally, the smaller the filling, the longer it will last, as the bulk of the strength comes from the remaining tooth structure around the filling. Very large white fillings may eventually require replacement with a porcelain crown or onlay to rebuild the lost strength in the tooth.