Tooth-colored fillings, also called white fillings, are dental fillings that restore and mimic the natural appearance of tooth structure. In addition to restoring teeth that have fractured or decayed, tooth-colored fillings may also be used cosmetically to change the size, color, and shape of teeth. This quality is particularly useful in closing gaps between teeth, repairing chipped teeth, and making teeth appear to be more straight or even.
What are the advantages of tooth-colored fillings (white fillings)?
- They closely match natural tooth color and appearance.
- They bond to tooth structure chemically and thus do not require the placement of slots, grooves, or pins in the healthy tooth structure to mechanically retain them.
- The bonding of white fillings to the tooth restores 85% – 95% of the original strength of the tooth.
- They completely harden in seconds instead of days required by some other materials.
- Tooth sensitivity, if any, due to composite resin use is minimal and brief.
- They may be used on front and back teeth without compromising aesthetics.
- If damaged, they can be repaired.
How Long do Composite Fillings Last?
White composite fillings offer some advantages over amalgam, but they also do not last as long—usually about five to seven years as compared to ten to fifteen years for a typical amalgam filling. White fillings made of porcelain, however, can be expected to last about the same amount of time as amalgam.
How Long do Amalgam Fillings Last?
Clenching or grinding also can cause your teeth and fillings to crack or develop small craze lines. These are fine cracks you can see if you shine a light on your tooth. Although some fillings can last for many years, the average life of an amalgam filling is about 12 years. Composite fillings may not last this long.