Our body has a wonderful ability to restore damaged structures. For example, when we broke a bone, our body creates new cells that heal the bone. Unfortunately, this isn’t the same when it comes to our teeth. Though we have two sets of teeth during our life, when a hole appeared in a tooth, our body is not able to repair it. Before the creation of fillings, cavities caused much pain and inconveniences. Today, with modern dentistry, there are different options to keep your decayed teeth. All that you actually need is having the bacteria professionally removed and the tooth hole replaced with a dental filling.
What Is a White Filling?
White filling is one of the most popular options of dental restorations that are used as an alternative to silver (amalgam) fillings. By using enamel and dentin bonding techniques, white fillings are able to restore teeth that are decayed, broken or damaged because of injury. White fillings were invented in 1960-s, and since that time they have been improved greatly in durability and aesthetics. White filling or composite resin is a mixture of a tooth-colored plastic and glass. Trace metals are used to give color to the glass while zirconium or titanium oxides add opacity.
Why Choosing White Fillings?
- They are naturally looking and can be used for front or back teeth without compromising aesthetics
- White fillings are chemically bonded to your teeth, so there is no need to use grooves for mechanical retention
- If damaged, white fillings can be easily restored
- The procedure is quick and can be completed in one hour
- White fillings become hard in a few seconds, while some other materials may require a day to harden
- They restore tooth natural strength by approximately 90%
- They are temperature resistant to extreme cold and hot
- Can be used in case of small cavities (a microscopic white filling may be placed with the help of air abrasion instead of drill)
- Can be combined with other dental treatments (crowns, bridges, inlays)
- White fillings are very durable and can last from 7 to 10 years or longer, if properly cared
What is the Procedure of Getting White Fillings?
Here is a short description of the white filling procedure placement:
Step 1. Cleaning Your Teeth
A solid bonding is possible only when the tooth surface is clean. So, first of all, the dentist will polish your teeth removing plaque, tartar, decay and any existing filling.
Step 2. Teeth Preparation
After applying a numbing gel and local anesthetic, your dentist may use some material to make the whole procedure more effective. Once your mouth is numb, the dentist will remove a decayed part of your tooth. Thus, to ensure proper bonding the tooth surface is covered with a special bonding solution. Then, your dentist will choose the right shade of white filling that best matches your own teeth.
Step 3. White Filling Placement
The white filling is placed into the cavity and then molded to fit properly. A curing light is used to harden the filling. Finally, the filling is trimmed and polished to make it look as a natural part of your tooth.
Direct and Indirect White Fillings: When to Use?
The main difference between direct and indirect fillings is based on when the curing light is used during the procedure. Thus, direct white fillings are hardened with the curing lamp right after the filling material is placed into the tooth cavity. Direct fillings are more frequent to use in case of disguising gaps and tooth-reshaping. With indirect fillings, a filling material is first cured with the light in the dental laboratory and then placed in the mouth. The indirect method is better when it comes to large tooth cavities, inlays and onlays.
Are There Any Risks of Placing White Fillings?
White filling placement is associated with the following side effects:
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold during some weeks after the procedure
- Pain and discomfort when applying pressure to the teeth following some days after the procedure
- The white filling tends to worn down within years (7-10 years), so it will need to be replaced some day.
White Fillings Aftercare
Before anesthesia wears off (1-3 hours), don’t chew on the numb side to prevent your tongue and lips from biting. Sometimes, teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold straight after the procedure. The gum tissue can be sore and irritated as well. It is normal. The uncomfortable feelings will cease within a few days-weeks. To reduce soreness you can rinse your mouth with warm salty water. Any longer and increasing pain or tooth sensitivity should be reported to your dentist. It is essential to take good care of your teeth and mouth to ensure the long life of your fillings and avoid developing new cavities. Treat your white fillings the same way as your natural teeth, Try to reduce consumption of sweets and sugary drinks. Brush and floss your teeth daily, and don’t forget about regular dental check-ups.