Benefits of non-metal fillings, or white tooth fillings
There are a number of advantages that white tooth fillings have over metal fillings. Non-metal fillings, also called white tooth fillings or tooth-colored fillings are made from durable plastics called composite resins.
- Similar in color and texture to natural teeth, non-metal fillings (white tooth fillings or composite fillings) are able to restore the natural appearance of the tooth also making them less noticeable. White tooth fillings or non-metal fillings are often referred to as “resins” or “composites”.
- White tooth fillings or non-metal fillings are not susceptible to hot and cold. Hot and cold temperatures cause “silver” or amalgam fillings to expand and contract, putting undue pressure on the tooth and eventually breaking down the structure. This constant pressure may also lead to additional dental work down the road to repair the fractures (i.e. Crowns). Composite or resin fillings are resistant to hot and cold and therefore do not cause added pressure and stress to the tooth. Composite fillings also bond directly to the tooth, restoring most of the tooth's original strength. Composite fillings take away less tooth structure and are mercury free.
- Non-metal fillings or white tooth fillings are also considered to be healthier than having metal in your mouth over a long period of time.
- While the cost of a composite filling may be a bit more than a metal or amalgam filling, the benefits over time result in a healthcare decision you can feel good about.
Why does my white tooth filling or amalgam filling need to be replaced?
Dental fillings (tooth restorations) may last many years before they need replacing. However, constant pressure from chewing, grinding and clenching may cause a metal or white tooth fillingto wear away, chip, crack or even fall out. Tooth fillings that are worn around the edges or have pulled away from tooth enamel are invitations to decay-causing bacteria. The bacteria, which are present in saliva, combine with sugar or starch from food products to produce acids. The bacteria enter the tiny spaces between the filling and the tooth. Once there, they cannot usually be removed with a toothbrush. Decay may start to develop along the margins of the filling.
Improper hygiene, improper diet, gum recession or decreased saliva flow might cause recurring decay. If the recurrent decay is not removed early, it eventually progresses into the soft dentin and then the dental pulp, the tooth’s living core. If the damage or diseased pulp is not removed, the tooth and the surrounding tissues can become infected.
Regular dental examinations are important because tooth fillings that are broken or no longer intact generally can be detected in the early stages. During your dental checkup, your dentist can determine whether existing tooth fillings are intact, or if any have cracked or worn away. Worn tooth fillings should be replaced promptly before decay begins. In some cases, extensive tooth decay around an existing filling may leave little tooth structure once the decay is removed. Your dentist may need to restore the tooth with a dental crown instead of a filling.