White (composite) fillings are made of a combination of resin and filler particles. They are placed for a variety of reasons:
- Broken tooth
- Decay around an old filling
- Chipped front tooth from an accident
- Sealing a root filling
- As an interim measure before a crown is placed
- Masking a discoloured tooth
They are bonded and colour-matched to the surrounding tooth, including all front and back teeth. Back teeth are under heavier stress and load from the food you eat, so white fillings here will deteriorate faster than front teeth fillings.
White fillings are best placed under ideal conditions such as perfect moisture control. A rubber dam, or what some patients call a blue tarpaulin or umbrella, isolates the tooth or row of teeth to allow optimal conditions for placement. This means that no water will go down your throat, only your own saliva that you naturally produce. It can improve your dental experience considerably, as you do not have to keep moving your tongue out of the way too.
White fillings can last five years before they deteriorate and require replacement. Teeth under heavier load will break sooner than others under a lighter load.
Regular recall appointments with sequential photographs of teeth that require close monitoring, is key in diagnosing when a filling requires replacing, along with x-rays.
white fillings procedure
Local anaesthetic is placed next to the tooth requiring treatment. The tooth or row of teeth are isolated with a rubber dam. The decay or old filling is removed, and the white filling bonded into place. Increments of flowable white filling are placed 2mm at a time, then cured with a blue light to make the filling set completely. Once the anaesthetic has worn off, your tooth can be eaten on straight away.
White fillings can last five plus years before requiring replacement.