Modern white fillings are a combination of a resin and nano-particles of glass. This combination gives white fillings their dental name; composite resins.
White fillings can be used to replace decay, or replace old silver fillings for cosmetic reasons. The enhanced cosmetics are the main benefit of white fillings - they can look just like natural teeth. Many people are also concerned about the potential risks of mercury containing silver fillings.
On average White Fillings should last for 7-10 years. White fillings are generally used when the cavity/ filling to be replaced is small to medium in size. When a larger filling is required a porcelain inlay or porcelain onlay is a better option.
Porcelain inlays or porcelain onlays are fillings made of porcelain that fit into or onto the tooth. They are indicated when there is too little tooth structure to predictably support a white filling but there is enough tooth to avoid placing a crown, which is more destructive to the tooth.
Porcelain inlays / porcelain onlays take 2 visits to complete. The first session is when the decay or old filling is painlessly removed, a detailed impression is taken and a type of white filling is placed in the tooth as a temporary restoration. The ceramist then creates the custom made porcelain inlay or porcelain onlay in the lab. The second session is 1-2 weeks later when the porcelain inlay or porcelain onlay is bonded to the tooth.
The big advantage of porcelain inlays / porcelain onlays is that they are more durable than white fillings. Fillings often reduce the strength of a tooth but porcelain inlays / porcelain onlays can actually increase a tooth’s strength.
- 1 A drill, air abrasion instrument or laser will be used to remove the decayed areas of the tooth.
- Our dentist will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris.
- The cavity will be filled with either a porcelain filling, or a tooth-coloured, plastic and glass materials called a composite resin filling (see details above). A silver amalgam filling may be used, which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper. Silver fillings don’t match the colour of your natural teeth (see example below). At Smile 360 we don’t use silver fillings.