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Tooth-Coloured Fillings

Durable. Tooth-Coloured. Mercury-Free.

Logo for white dental fillings at a dentist for nervous or anxious patients
White dental fillings are the most commonly performed dental procedure in our practice. Fillings are needed to fill holes that have arisen, either from tooth decay or a crack in the tooth. In the case of tooth decay, bacteria collect in hard to clean areas (this is why most holes form between teeth or in the deep grooves on the biting surfaces), eat the food you put in your mouth and produce an acid which dissolves your tooth structure. Once a tooth has a cavity, it will not grow back, but the cavity will continue to grow. These holes, if caught early, can be cleaned and freed of bacteria before being filled with a white composite filling. Often these types of holes cannot be seen or felt and only show up on x-rays. If a hole continues to grow to the point of pain, often a white filling cannot be placed, and the tooth may need root canal treatment and a crown.

All dental fillings used today are made of a white tooth-coloured material. This material comes in many shades of white and can be matched to your tooth. Some filling materials can be polished so well that you cannot tell the difference between a filling and the tooth.

The material is called composite resin and is essentially a plastic reinforced with glass particles for strength. The material is 100% mercury-free, unlike the older silver amalgam fillings. White dental fillings bond or stick to the tooth structure like glue. They are incredibly strong in small amounts but weaker in larger amounts. That is why a hole that covers more than 60% of a tooth generally needs a porcelain crown if it is to last in the long-term.

Why are fillings needed?

Dental fillings are needed to fill holes in teeth created by either bacteria and tooth decay or from a chip. Teeth are prepared in a specific way, cleaned and filled to not only restore the original shape of the tooth but to prevent more bacteria from entering the tooth.

How are fillings placed?

The bacteria is carefully cleaned out of the hole. The tooth is then ‘etched’ using a weak acid to clean and prepare the surface. We then use a bond layer made of very runny plastic. This bond layer is like using a paint primer before you use the paint. The white filling material is then placed one small increment at a time. The material is soft until it is set rock hard with a blue light. The filling is checked to ensure that your biting surfaces are interacting normally and to make sure that you will not get food stuck around it. The filling is finally polished to give it a similar feel and appearance to a tooth.

Does it hurt to get a filling?

Pain-free dentistry should be the norm, not the exception. We use painless anaesthetic techniques to numb teeth and cater for nervous and anxious patients. There are some strange rumbling noises. If you think these will bother you, bring your own headphones and music with you, so that you will not hear a thing!
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