Cavity fillings were first introduced in the early 1800s. They were made of various materials, including gold, silver, and other metals. But over time, these metal fillings began to cause problems. They were noticeable, and sometimes they would discolor the teeth. In addition, metal fillings are not very strong and can crack or break over time.

In the early 1900s, dentists began using a material called amalgam to fill cavities. An amalgam filling contains mercury, silver, tin, and copper. They are still used today, but white tooth fillings are becoming more popular.

Give our office a call at 303-321-5656 or fill out the booking form online to schedule your initial consultation. Our Cherry Creek dentists are proud to deliver beautiful white dental fillings to patients in Denver, Englewood, Greenwood Village and surrounding Colorado communities.

Denver's DeWitt Dental Associates Providing Outstanding Care For More Than 20 Years

Why Are Fillings Used?

Fillings are used to restore teeth that have been damaged by decay. Decay starts when plaque and acid attack the tooth’s enamel or outer layer. If the decay is not treated, it can cause a hole, or cavity, to form in the tooth. If left untreated, the decay can become worse, and it can eventually lead to pain, infection, and tooth loss. So fillings are used to restore the tooth and prevent further damage.

When Baby Teeth Need Fillings

Baby teeth are just as susceptible to decay as adult teeth. Cavities in baby teeth are becoming more common because of the increased sugary drinks and snacks that children consume. If a child has a cavity, it is important to treat it as soon as possible. If left untreated, cavities can cause pain and lead to problems with the adult teeth.

White Fillings vs. Silver Fillings

White fillings, also called composite fillings, are made of a white composite resin, a material that is not as harmful to teeth as amalgam. They are less noticeable than silver fillings and can be used on front and back teeth. White fillings are also stronger than silver fillings and can last many years.

There are many reasons why people may choose white tooth fillings over amalgam. One big reason is that white fillings look a lot better. They blend in with the natural color of teeth and are less visible than amalgam.

Aesthetics aside, metal fillings can chip, crack, or break teeth as they expand and contract with temperature fluctuations in the mouth. These changes in size can also allow metal fillings to come loose or fall out entirely–both of which can create discomfort and increase the risks of serious damage to your smile.

How Long Do White Dental Fillings Last?

The lifespan of white tooth fillings can vary depending on the location and size of the filling. For example, fillings in the back teeth usually last longer than fillings in the front teeth. This is because the back teeth are used less and are not as susceptible to wear and tear.

  • The size of the filling can also affect its lifespan. Smaller fillings usually last longer than larger fillings because the filling has less surface area to bond with. In general, white tooth fillings can last for 5 to 10 years, or even longer.
  • Another advantage of white fillings is that they can be repaired if they become damaged. With metal fillings, however, once they are damaged, they need to be replaced altogether.

The Procedure of Filling a Tooth

First, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Then, they will use a drill to remove the decay from the tooth. Your dentist will then clean the tooth and prepare it for the filling. 

The white composite material is then applied in layers, and a special light hardens each layer. When the process is completed, your dentist will shape the filling to the desired result, trimming away any excess material and polishing it for a final restoration.

You may experience shade variations in white tooth fillings immediately after the procedure. However, the color will match your natural teeth more closely over time as the material wears down slightly.

Oral Care With Fillings

Once you have white tooth fillings, it is important to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Diet also plays a role in oral care. Sugary and acidic foods can contribute to tooth decay, so limiting these foods and beverages is essential.

You should avoid chewing hard foods or biting your nails, as this can damage the filling. If you grind your teeth at night, you may want to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth.

Should You Replace Your Amalgam Silver Fillings?

Replace Metal Fillings with White Fillings

If you have old metal fillings, you may be wondering if you should replace them with white tooth fillings. In general, metal fillings are safe and do not need to be replaced unless they are causing problems.

  • If your metal fillings are cracked, loose, or broken, you should see a dentist to have them repaired or replaced. Metal fillings can also cause sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages. If you have this sensitivity, you may want to consider white tooth fillings.
  • Another reason to replace metal fillings is for aesthetics. White tooth fillings look more natural than metal fillings and can give you a more attractive smile. 

If you are considering white tooth fillings, talk to your dentist about the benefits and risks. They can help you decide if white tooth fillings are right for you.

Alternatives to Fillings 

In some cases, tooth fillings may not be the best option. A filling may not be strong enough to support the tooth if you have a large cavity. In this case, your dentist may recommend a crown or an onlay.

Crowns and onlays are made of porcelain or ceramic and cover the entire tooth. This helps to strengthen the tooth and prevent further damage.

If you have a small cavity, your dentist may be able to treat it with a sealant. A sealant is a plastic material that is applied to the tooth. It bonds with the tooth and creates a barrier that prevents cavities. Your dentist will recommend the best treatment for you based on the size and location of the cavity.

Your Best Smile

Our experienced dental team at DeWitt Dental Associates has years of combined experience delivering beautiful, healthy smiles to patients all around Colorado. We utilize advanced technology to make sure your experience is informative and relaxing.

Our white tooth fillings are made of high-quality composite material matched to your natural tooth color. We take great care in shaping and trimming the filling so that it looks natural and feels comfortable. We understand that everyone’s smile is unique, and we work hard to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

If you are in the Denver, Englewood, or Cherry Creek area and want to learn more about white fillings, other filling options, or any other effective dental care, give our office a call at 303-321-5656 or fill out the booking form online to schedule your appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long after a white filling can I eat?

You should wait at least 30 minutes after the filling is placed before eating or drinking. This will give the material time to harden completely.

Can you whiten fillings?

No, tooth-colored fillings cannot be whitened. If you are concerned about the color of your filling, talk to your dentist about other options.

Do white fillings have mercury?

No, white fillings do not contain mercury.

How long do white fillings last on back teeth?

Back teeth fillings can last for many years. However, you may need to have the filling replaced sooner if it is damaged or if there is decay around the filling.

Are white fillings more expensive?

White fillings are typically more expensive than metal fillings. However, the cost varies depending on the size and location of the filling.