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Amalgam, silver & metallic coloured fillings are a thing of the past! Australian dentists now commonly use white-coloured materials for dental fillings, which have multiple benefits for patients other than solely tooth-like aesthetics! There are two common materials used for white fillings in modern dentistry. These materials are called composite resin and GIC (glass ionomer cement).

Amalgam use is gradually phasing out for a number of reasons. Aside from the non-appealing aesthetics, one issue with amalgam is its super strength! Amalgam expands and shrinks rapidly when it comes in contact with extreme temperatures like when eating ice cream or a steaming hot soup! This extra pressure and force can be detrimental to the remaining natural tooth as it can fracture the enamel surrounding the filling! Composite and GIC are weaker than the tooth structure to avoid this problem from occurring. It is much easier and cheaper to replace a broken filling rather than a broken tooth!

Different Dental Filling Material Bondi Clinic

Amalgam contains mercury and can sometimes leak into the gum, resulting in an unwarranted tattoo! Preparing a tooth for an amalgam filling also requires more of the healthy tooth to be removed to allow for the amalgam to retain itself in the tooth. White filling cavity preparations are generally more conservative, meaning more of your natural tooth will be preserved and less drilling for your dentist! The more of the tooth you keep, the lesser likelihood of complications in the long term!

Composite resin is used most commonly for its versatility and because it is so easy for clinicians to use. Composite resin durability and quality has improved significantly since it was first introduced in the 1960’s. Dentists can easily shape and mould composite to help recreate the missing tooth structure to look almost as good as the original! Composite bonds directly to the tooth enamel, which makes the filling glue last longer than other dental products. Composite has remarkable colours which allows it to be matched to your unique tooth colour. The resin has been manufactured in various shades making it a suitable choice for cosmetic procedures like veneers! Composite isn’t going to hurt your bank account as much as porcelain veneers either!

Porcelain veneers and crowns are other types of complex fillings that are usually constructed within a lab for heightened durability, resulting in a greater cost for the extra labour and quality. These fillings can either fill in a hole (inlay) or cover a segment of your tooth (onlay), you can read more about these here.


Porcelain veneers Bondi Beach

GIC is less common than composite resin but still has its place in dentistry! Unlike composite and amalgam, GIC releases fluoride whilst it remains in the tooth! For this reason, GIC is commonly used in deeper cavities where the decay extends closer to the nerve inside the tooth. GIC also can be used as an extra layer beneath composite fillings to minimise the reoccurrence of decay in the future by releasing fluoride! If fluoride isn’t an option for you, do not worry! Your dentist can always use composite resin instead! In addition, GIC is used for preventative procedures, like fissure sealants as it flows easily into the deep grooves of molar teeth to stop food and harmful bacteria from becoming stuck which reduces the risk of decay and needing a large filling in the future! GIC isn’t as forgiving as composite, it sets rather quickly and does not always need a curing light to set the material hard. This can make it a race against the clock to get the ideal shape, hence why it is not generally used in visible areas of your smile!

The longevity and durability of GIC does not compare to composite either.

Remember to keep brushing and flossing to minimise your risk of needing a filling! If you feel like you need a filling or have an amalgam filling you want replaced, come in and see us at Dentist Mandy! We are here to keep your smile sparkling white like a Hollywood celeb!