Most people have fillings of one sort or another but today, because we are much more conscious of our smile, we can choose a natural looking alternative - the composite or tooth-coloured white filling.
A composite resin is a tooth-coloured white plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide) first introduced in the 1960s. Originally only used for front teeth because of their softer nature, modern improvements to their composition make them generically suitable today.
Composite fillings are more difficult to place than silver fillings so may take your dentist 15-20 minutes longer to complete and because they are considered to be a cosmetic treatment, they are not available on the NHS and must be paid for.
The main advantage of white composite fillings is their aesthetic appeal. The main disadvantage is their life expectancy.
White fillings have always been considered less long lasting than silver amalgam fillings but there are now new materials available with properties comparable to silver amalgam, and these are proving to be very successful.
These tooth coloured white fillings are made from a high strength dental ceramic. They are made in a dental laboratory and can be designed to look exactly like natural teeth.
The life expectancy of your composite filling can depend on the depth of cavity and its position in the mouth; your dentist is best positioned to advise you.