Why Some Patients Prefer White Fillings
Practice Principal, Dr Sandeep Patel, looks at why patients are switching from amalgam fillings.
From time to time, there are negative stories about amalgam fillings in the media and claims that these can be dangerous are likely to deter patients from having them.
However, research by the General Dental Council, has shown that the use of mercury compounds is safe in this type of situation. Although they are safe to use, there is a drive to reduce the use of mercury in medical situations, including amalgam fillings. This is largely to reduce the amount of mercury that is released into the environment.
Any possible health issues surrounding the use of mercury should, of course, be investigated, and action taken where appropriate. This is not the only reason why patients of the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich are increasingly moving over to white dental fillings though.
Everybody knows that amalgam fillings, whilst strong, are dark in colour and very unsightly. They can even be seen on usually well hidden rear teeth when we yawn or laugh. Where they are used on the more visible front teeth it can be very difficult to hide and can cause some people to become somewhat reluctant to smile.
Because white fillings are made to match the exact shade of your natural teeth, they are all but invisible to those around you. This is probably the main reason for the increasing change from amalgam fillings to white fillings by many dental patients.
Whilst the aesthetic benefits of white fillings are the most obvious ones, there are other significant benefits too. One of these is that white fillings bond to the actual tooth, unlike amalgam. Whereas amalgam fillings required the tooth to be shaped for the filling to be placed, white fillings bond directly to the tooth itself. This means that, in many cases, we will not need to remove as much of the natural tooth as we would if amalgam fillings were used.
Fewer future fillings
Patients may not be aware that amalgam shrinks a little over time and this often leads to tiny spaces appearing at the edges between the tooth and the filling. Although very small, these gaps do allow bacteria and acids to enter and further decay in this area is a real possibility. Because white fillings bond tightly to the tooth, this problem is prevented and future fillings in teeth treated in this way are less likely.
White fillings can be used to fill individual teeth that have suffered decay, or as part of our popular smile makeover treatment that we provide at our Greenwich dental practice. If you have any concerns about your current fillings or suspect you may need a filling soon, why not take this opportunity to discuss switching to white fillings instead. You can call the Confidental Clinic for an appointment on 020 8858 1422.
Dr Sandeep Patel is a general and aesthetic dentist at our Greenwich practice (GDC 65766).