What Are White Composite Fillings?
Traditional fillings are made out of a metal amalgam. They’re black and easily noticeable against the white enamel around them.
White composite fillings are made out of a material called dental composite or composite resin. This is a special mixture effectively made out of plastic and glass. It’s quick and easy to apply, and best of all, it matches the color of the surrounding tooth.
What are the Benefits of White Composite Fillings?
There are several benefits of getting white composite fillings over typical amalgam fillings.
Firstly, there’s the aesthetics. White composite fillings don’t stand out and are difficult to spot. This is ideal for patients who are concerned about their smile — or actors who need to star in a period piece and don’t want obvious fillings ruining the illusion!
Secondly, amalgam fillings are very hard and brittle. Over time they can come loose from the surrounding tooth. This basically turns them into a small spike that you start to drive down into the tooth every time you chew. In worst case scenarios, an amalgam filling can actually cause a crack in a tooth.
Lastly, there are concerns about the metals used in amalgam fillings leaking into the bloodstream. While the evidence is very weak, bordering on nonexistent, it’s still a legitimate concern for many patients. Those who would rather not take any risk with materials placed into their body will rest easier with composite fillings.
Are There Drawbacks to White Composite Fillings?
Like any process or procedure, there are pros and cons.
White composite fillings are not as durable as amalgam fillings. They may need to be replaced more frequently over time. They’re also not as cheap.
Dental composite is also susceptible to staining. While the filling can be made to match the color of surrounding teeth, it will darken faster than the enamel around it and become more noticeable over time.
Should I Replace Amalgam Fillings with White Composite Fillings?
If amalgam fillings are causing a problem — as discussed above, they might start to injure the tooth rather than help it — it’s ideal to replace them. If you want a more aesthetic smile, white composite are the way to go.
If your amalgam fillings are causing no concerns and you’re not worried about the look of the fillings, there’s no reason to remove them. So long as they’re doing their job safely, they’re good to stay.