Dental decay happens when the enamel and dentine of a tooth becomes softened by acid attack, producing a cavity (hole). If the decay is not too serious, the dentist will remove all the decay and restore the tooth with a filling. Fillings are restorations of the tooth; the restoration can be a white or silver filling. Silver fillings are made of the material amalgam (Mercury). White fillings are made of durable white filling material that does not carry mercury as the silver filling.
In recent years it has been more common for the patient to ask for white fillings. The material Composite is a stronger more durable natural coloured filling material. White filling material can be placed in any tooth, the only dictating factor being the size of the filling. The advantage of choosing a white filling material opposed to a silver filling is aesthetics.
Your dentist is able to replace your filling with a match that is natural to your shade of tooth, so the filling is almost invisible. If you are interested in having white fillings please discuss this with our dental team as there are different options available.
The most common type of filling is dental amalgam, made from a mixture of mercury and different metals. Amalgam fillings are often used on your back teeth as they are hard-wearing.
Your dentist will offer you the type of filling most appropriate for your clinical (medical) needs. This may include a tooth-coloured (white) filling. For example, if you need a filling for one of your front teeth, your dentist may suggest a tooth-coloured filling, but the use of tooth coloured fillings on back teeth is considered purely cosmetic.