White fillings are now a complete replacement for the silver amalgam fillings. We only use state of the art high quality white fillings or composites as they are known as. We use different types depending on the site of the filling. Cavities at the back teeth require more strength, and the front teeth more aesthetic qualities. As oppose to silver fillings that take time to set, white fillings are set by ultra violet light, which means you can eat on them immediately.
We actually do not recommend amalgam because we believe composite fillings are more beneficial for other reasons. Apart from the obvious aesthetic advantages, composite materials chemically bond to teeth. Amalgam fillings primarily are held in by cutting a cavity with a wider base than the opening, so that the filling is ‘locked’ in. However by doing this, more tooth has to be removed than is necessary.
Amalgam also has very different properties to teeth, including very different amounts of contraction and expansion with heat and cold. Over time theses differences can lead to stress fractures building up in the tooth structure with the consequence that significant amounts of tooth can break, and the tooth may need to be eventually removed.
Composite materials mimic these qualities of teeth much more closely. This means less tooth structure needs to be removed and formation of these stress fractures are less likely. The ability to be able to vary the composition of the composite material means that we can also replicate the natural variety of translucencies, characteristics and colours found within a single tooth.
Apart from restoring cavities, we also use this material for ‘direct veneers’ or ‘composite veneers’. In this manner we can improve the appearance of teeth without having to trim or move them with braces. For back teeth with unsightly silver fillings, replacing them with white fillings can lead to a significant improvement and restore a much more natural tooth like appearance.