Tooth coloured fillings, also called white fillings or composite fillings, are used for filling front and back teeth. The filling comes as a paste that the dentist puts into the damaged part of the tooth, adjusts your bite and polishes it. It is routinely used to fix front teeth that are damaged by decay or chipped, cracked or worn down. The filling is bonded to the tooth with a very strong dental resin but it can break off, become loose or chip depending on factors like the size of the filling, where is is positioned, your “bite”, whether you clench or grind your teeth, habit’s like nail biting, and contact sports.
Sometimes there is not enough tooth remaining or the tooth has had root canal treatment and your dentist may advise a crown instead.
Tooth coloured filling materials come in different colours that can usually be matched well to the colour of your tooth and some of the newer materials look very natural. Your dentist will advise you about the different choices and private versus NHS options.
There will be some situations where a composite fillings will be the ideal choice for back teeth, generally where the tooth was not badly damaged and requires a small filling. For larger fillings and situations where there is a heavy bite or habits like grinding a white filling will usually not be suitable.
Whilst composite is a durable material, it is prone to breakage and discolouration. Small chips can usually be repaired and stains can be polish away regularly until the filling needs to be replaced.
Composite fillings are often used as an alternative to amalgam (metal) fillings for back teeth if you prefer a cosmetic filling. old metal fillings can be replaced them with composite fillings or inlays to improve your smile or if you want a smile makeover.
Your dentist will explain the options, alternatives, risks and benefits to enable you to make a fully informed choice.