You may have a hole in your tooth or a metal filling you want replacing for a more cosmetic appearance. Both are very straightforward procedures involving the careful cleaning of the cavity and the removal of any metal or weak parts of the tooth. The tooth is then filled, usually with a tooth-coloured filling.
How does it work?
Usually, the area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic, then any decay, together with any old filling material, is removed. The tooth is then washed and dried, and the surface to be restored is etched with a mild acid to help the filling adhere more closely.
The surface of the cavity is then coated with a bonding agent (which acts like cement), and the filling material is placed into the cavity and shaped to the contours of your tooth. The filling is hardened by shining a curing light on it, then trimmed and polished, and the bite is then checked for comfort.
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 discoloration that cleaning won’t remove.
White fillings are less noticeable than silver fillings, which may turn black in the mouth. White fillings also come in a range of shades, so they can be quite closely matched to the colour of your own teeth. A tooth needs less preparation for a white filling than for a silver filling.