Unlike silver (amalgam) fillings, white filling material sticks to teeth and can form edges, so it may be effectively used to repair front teeth that are chipped, broken, decayed or worn. It can also be used as a “veneer” to cover marks or discolouration that cleaning won’t remove. White fillings are less noticeable than silver fillings, which may turn black in the mouth. White fillings come in a range of shades so they can be matched to the colour of your own teeth. A tooth needs less preparation for a white filling than for a silver filling.
Your dentist will:
1. Remove any decay, together with any old filling material, using a small, high-speed drill
2. Remove any weak part of the tooth which might break later
3. Wash and dry the tooth by blowing water and then air onto it (the dentist will be holding something which looks like a water pistol)
4. Etch the surface to be restored with a mild acid, to help the filling stick better
5. Coat the surface that is to be restored with a bonding agent (which acts like cement) and then place the filling material -this is pushed into the cavity that is to be filled and it is shaped as required
6. Harden the filling by pointing a bright light at it, inside your mouth (you will see the dentist and dental nurse protecting their eyes)- this is called “curing”; and trim and polish the filling as necessary