For many years, dentists could only offer metal fillings as a treatment for cavities. As unaesthetic as metal fillings could be in the front of the mouth, there existed no other options even for the best dentist. In Utah, thanks to the development of white fillings, your dentist can fill decaying, misshapen, or discolored teeth with a tooth-colored plastic/glass mixture.
How does it work?
The dentist prepares the mixture and then places the composite in layers, hardening each layer with a specialized light. Once the dentist finishes that process, they will shape the composite to the shape of the tooth. With polishing, the composite will resist staining and wear.
What is the cost?
Composites can cost more than a silver filling (up to twice as much in some cases). However, most dental insurance plans will cover the cost of a silver filling, with the patient paying the difference for a white filling. Insurance companies will increase their coverage of composites as they strengthen their reputation and grow in popularity.
Why a white filling?
Composites mimic the natural tooth almost perfectly, making aesthetics the main reason for their popularity. Stains can be blended to match the shade nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes. All Platinum Dental locations offer white fillings.
What are the disadvantages?
Many patients report experiencing twinges of sensitivity directly following the application of a composite filling. Although the postoperative sensitivity goes away after time and can be treated with sensitive toothpaste, the shade of the composite can also absorb stains from drinking tea, coffee or other staining foods. This can be prevented if the dentist places a clear plastic coating over the composite. This will prevent the color from changing if the patient is particularly concerned about tooth color (especially in the case of cosmetic or restorative applications). Composites often wear out sooner than silver fillings in large cavities. For smaller cavities, however, white fillings match the durability of silver ones.
The author lives in Riverton, Utah.