Composite fillings (known as white fillings) can be put in if you have nerve sensitivity due to tooth decay. The decaying part of the tooth will be removed and the filling placed into the gap. This should stop any sensitivity and protect the remaining tooth structure.
Why Choose White Fillings?
The main reason people choose white fillings is because the color can be matched exactly to the shade of the person’s teeth so the filling will blend in, unlike the traditional mercury amalgam fillings that are silver and can be unsightly.
White fillings bond to your teeth, unlike mercury, where a larger amount is needed to fill up the gap. This means that less tooth will be removed in the process and this will make your teeth less vulnerable to fracturing.
Other reasons to have one include not wanting to have mercury amalgam, having an allergy to the metal or being pregnant.
The Food and Drug Administration said that the nervous systems of unborn babies and children may be more susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of mercury and that there was no clinical information on the long-term health outcomes for pregnant women, their babies and children under six years old and for babies who breast fed when mom had a mercury amalgam filling.
Therefore, they advise caution if considering a mercury filling when pregnant. Mercury fillings have been banned in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
What are White Fillings Made of?
White fillings are made of resin (from plants) with powdered glass and ceramic. Sometimes the resin may be synthetic instead. Sometimes silicate may be used to make cement.
For children there is a glass filling called glass ionomer that has a chemical reaction with the child’s tooth and binds to it. This type of filling is weak and normally only used on baby teeth or the sides of teeth.
Disadvantages of White Fillings
Previous generations of white filling were considered not to last as long as mercury amalgam fillings although more recent ones have newer materials that are comparable to the strength of mercury fillings.