White fillings are tooth-coloured and therefore a more natural and aesthetically pleasing alternative to amalgam (silver) fillings whilst also being hard wearing.
Having this type of filling, in many cases, means that the dentist will need to remove less of your existing tooth than if you were having an amalgam filling. Preserving existing teeth wherever possible is always a good thing as removing tooth structure weakens the teeth and makes them more prone to breakage.
What are white fillings made from?
White fillings are made from a composite mixture made up mainly of glass particles, synthetic resin and a setting ingredient.
Amalgam (silver) fillings comprise of 50% mercury which causes concern for some patients but research has shown that mercury fillings are completely safe so the preference of white fillings over amalgam ones is purely cosmetic as they do not show when laughing or smiling.
Can anyone have white fillings?
In some cases a Composite Filling may not be appropriate to fill the cavity in your tooth; your dentist will inform you of this on examination. In most cases, you have a choice in the type of filling you can have.
Composite fillings can also can be used to build up the edges of chipped or worn teeth and can even replace existing Amalgam fillings that you may have. However, it is usually best to change fillings only when your dentist suggests that an old filling needs replacing.