Why use white fillings?
Traditional fillings were usually made of silver amalgam or mercury which aren’t very aesthetically pleasing and are thought to actually put the tooth at a higher risk of fracture.
White fillings are now available so people will no longer have silver glinting from the dark corners, when they open their mouths.
This filling is bonded to the tooth’s surface, holding teeth together while also restoring the appearance by mirroring the colour of the surrounding teeth.
The older fillings made of silver amalgam put the tooth at risk of fracturing because the traditional filling material cause the tooth to spread apart.
How long can a filling last?
According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA) this depends on the “position, shape, material, and functioning pressure”.
The ADA says that larger fillings that “bear a heavy functional load” tend to break down quicker than those that are smaller and have little force.
During a procedure however, a dentist may have an idea of the life expectancy of the filling.
A dentist regularly monitors your fillings as part of a normal check-up, looking for decay, cracks, discolouration or weakness.
Composite resin is a plastic filling material that can be matched to blend in with the tooth’s natural colour. It is used to fill small cavities or small defects caused by fracture. It can also be used to resurface a front tooth, thus changing the tooth’s colour, shape or apparent position.
The composite resin is applied directly to the prepared tooth and sculpted into the right shape. The material hardens and bonds to the tooth structure when it is activated with a blue light. The resin can be polished to a high shine, and fillings can be difficult to distinguish from natural teeth.
A composite resin filling may not be strong enough to fill the cavity or fracture site if they are moderate or large in size. In this case, your dentist may recommend a porcelain filling.
Dental porcelain is very strong, and therefore suitable for larger fillings and for teeth that have cracks in them. Porcelain fillings provide an excellent cosmetic result because the porcelain can be matched to the colour of the natural tooth, and has a similar translucent quality to that of tooth enamel.
Porcelain fillings are not built up in the mouth like a composite resin: they are custom-made away from the mouth by a process of casting or milling. The customised piece of porcelain is then cemented into the tooth.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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