White Fillings For Cavities And Cosmetics
There are generally two kinds of “white” fillings available – namely composite resin, and resin-modified glass ionomer.
Composite resin comes with many different shades of whiteness and translucency to match the colour of your original teeth but it doesn’t release fluoride. Fluoride helps to prevent the development of decay around the filling. Resin-modified glass ionomer (RMGI) has less shade variety and is much more opaque. However, RMGI releases the fluoride that a composite resin filling would not.
Composite resin can match the colour, shade and tone of any surrounding tooth structure. Together with its ability to stick to the surface of enamel very well, it can be used to repair chipped or fractured front teeth, cover discoloured tooth surfaces, modify the shape and size of a tooth and fill up the gap of a diastema (the gap between the two upper central incisors) with a very natural look and cosmetic results.
The team will often choose RMGI for the cavities that are less visible, in less stress bearing areas and/or root surfaces as it is white but does not quite match the shade and tone of the surrounding tooth structure. The results are aesthetically pleasing, long-lasting and mercury free. Thus, it is ideal for cavities in children.
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The Filling Process
During the procedure, the tooth is meticulously cleaned of decayed material while the remaining good tooth structure is cleaned and pumiced, removing contaminants on the surface. The “pits” in the tooth are disinfected and conditioned before bonding materials are placed to achieve optimal results. Any moisture can be detrimental to the bonding while the cavity is being filled.
After the filling, adjustments and shaping are done to ensure that it conforms to the normal anatomical structure of the tooth. This is executed to improve the durability, aesthetics, and function of the filled tooth.
It is well established that mercury at high quantities is poisonous to our bodies. It’s the reason that the Affinity Dental Care Team does not place silver mercury amalgam (mercury alloy) fillings in patients’ teeth. We often get asked if patients should consider replacing their silver fillings with the new “white” fillings. Our answer is simple… the levels of mercury in silver fillings are not significant enough to be toxic to humans. One benefit of silver fillings is that they are more durable and long lasting compared their white filling counterparts. We normally do not encourage patients to replace a functional silver filling, unless there are surrounding cavities, in a visible area or at the request of the patient.