You’ve probably heard of white fillings as an alternative to metal amalgam ones but what are they really all about? Let’s find out more with our dentist in Urmston.

White fillings become more popular because of their aesthetic appearance. They may be made from porcelain or composite. While we call them white, when we fit them, we attempt to match them to the colour and shade of the healthy enamel around them, to blend them into the rest of your tooth. This is particularly important on the outward facing or the big 8; the teeth that we most often display as we talk or eat.

White filling vs metal amalgam

In spite of some controversy based heavily on internet rumours, there is nothing inherently wrong with metal amalgam fillings. They are still commonly available as part of NHS treatment and are considered entirely safe. When properly installed, they can last many years but ensuring that they are firmly in place is an important part of the regular 6-month checkup.

The only clinically relevant difference between white and amalgam fillings is their thermal expansion. Metal fillings do have a higher expansion under temperature. So when being continually exposed to very hot beverages, some patients report a pressure from their products due to the growing and shrinking of their fillings under temperature. Unfortunately, this increases the chances of them coming loose.

Replacing fillings

At our dentist in Urmston we commonly replace traditional amalgam fillings with white replacements. This is very much the choice of the patient. It’s not particularly difficult as fillings were designed to be drilled out at the end of their useful life in order to be replaced and unlike drilling out a decaying tooth where the extent of the decay is unknown, the depth of the filling being replaced is. If we do not have an accurate copy of your dental records, we will carry out a set of X-rays before the procedure just to see how deep your fillings are set into your teeth.

White fillings

White fillings are made from a polymer composite material, made using a fine porcelain powder supported in a matrix of plastics and resins. This is what gives us control over their colour, by adding different coloured polymer pigments to alter it’s shade.

They have excellent strength under both tension and compression and can be used to build up unstable teeth in a way that traditional fillings could not. This often allows a very badly decayed tooth to be restored with a set of composite fillings rather than having to use a crown or inlay. These would be significantly more costly and could result in a delay whilst the prosthetics were fabricated at our partner dental laboratory. White fillings are more resistant to change under temperature too and do not have a similar reaction to metal foil that amalgam fillings display.

If you do have amalgam fillings and would like to have them removed and replaced with white ones, please feel free to get in contact with our dentist in Urmston. We are currently taking on new patients and would be happy to provide you with more information.