White Composite Filling

Do you have tooth decay or cavities? Decayed teeth should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible to prevent the problem from getting worse and needing a more serious dental treatment. White fillings are a quick and usually painless treatment that can restore a tooth's strength and natural appearance.

'White' (tooth-coloured) fillings are made from a composite resin material that bonds with your natural tooth structure and is sculpted by your dentist to restore the tooth's original shape. If you have old metal amalgam fillings, you can choose to have these replaced by composite fillings that match your natural tooth colour.

If you have a toothache and think you or your child might need a filling, make an appointment with our Northbridge dentists. We'll examine your mouth and discuss whether a filling or another treatment might be the best option for you, so you can make a fully informed decision. We can usually place fillings in just one visit.

To find out more about white fillings in Sydney North Shore, call (02) 9958 0400 or fill in the contact form below and we'll get back to you.

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What are composite white fillings?

White fillings are made from a composite resin of plastic and glass that's applied to cavities in teeth by a dentist. This composite can be adjusted to match your natural tooth colour for a seamless finish or brightened if you prefer a whiter appearance.

As well as their natural-looking results, composite fillings also bond more successfully with teeth than other types of fillings. Dentists apply a strong bonding agent that binds the filling to the tooth as it hardens, creating a tight seal to keep out bacteria.

Our dentists in Northbridge may recommend white fillings:

  • to fill a cavity or repair tooth decay
  • to reshape a tooth
  • to replace a metal amalgam filling
  • to close small gaps between teeth

Do I need composite dental fillings?

Fillings are most commonly used to fill cavities in teeth caused by tooth decay or erosion. Cavities are most common in children, whose teeth are thinner and more vulnerable to damage, but decay can affect people of all ages.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that can build up on the teeth in a sticky layer called plaque. When you consume sugar in food and drink, this feeds the bacteria that release acids. This erodes the tooth surface, forming cavities over time. If tooth decay isn't treated, the tooth will continue to wear down, leading to toothache, sensitivity and sometimes even tooth loss.

You might have a cavity or tooth decay if:

  • you have a toothache or pain when you bite down
  • your tooth feels more sensitive to hot, cold and sweet food and drinks
  • you can see holes or black, brown or white discolouration on the tooth surface

When you book a check-up at our dental clinic in Sydney's North Shore, we'll examine your teeth or your child's teeth for signs of decay or cavities. We may recommend a filling if a tooth needs to be repaired, or you may request white fillings for aesthetic reasons.

If you want to know more about white fillings to decide if they're the right treatment for you, call our team on (02) 9958 0400 or contact us today.

Silver fillings vs white fillings

White composite fillings aren't the only type of fillings available, but they are the most popular for their more natural appearance. A 'white' filling can be colour-matched to the rest of your teeth, so people won't even know you've had a filling. This isn't the case for older metal amalgam fillings, which are clearly visible in the mouth.

Sometimes called 'silver' fillings, most metal fillings don't contain silver, but are made from an amalgam of several metals. This includes toxic mercury, which may be accidentally swallowed if the filling gets broken. More of the tooth structure may need to be removed before a metal filling can be placed, and the procedure can take longer than for a white filling.

It used to be the case that metal amalgam fillings were considerably stronger and longer-lasting than composite white fillings, but advances in dental technology and materials mean that tooth-coloured fillings can now last for just as long. The risk of complications such as tooth sensitivity can also be reduced when choosing white fillings over silver.

What's involved in getting white composite fillings?

If you decide that a white filling is the right choice for you or your child, we'll explain what the procedure involves to help put your mind at ease and make sure you know what to expect. Placing a filling usually involves the following steps.

Numbing the tooth

Depending on how large the cavity is, we may inject local anaesthetic to numb the area around the tooth so you won't feel any pain during the treatment.

Removing decayed tissue

Our dentists will carefully remove the decayed or damaged part of the tooth, preserving as much of the natural tooth structure as possible.

Cleaning the cavity

The resulting cavity will then be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected of bacteria by applying a cleaning agent. This will be rinsed away and the cavity left to dry.

Applying the bonding agent

We'll then apply the adhesive bonding agent to the cavity, which holds the composite filling in place. This is cured (hardened) using a blue light.

Applying the filling material

We'll blend a shade of composite resin that matches your natural tooth colour and apply this to the prepared cavity. The resin is built up in several layers, each cured by a blue light before the next is applied.

Shaping the filling

When the cavity has been completely filled, we'll carefully sculpt and polish the surface so it looks and feels like a natural tooth and restore your normal bite. The time it takes to place a filling varies for each individual, but the procedure is usually completed within one hour.

White fillings FAQ

Getting a filling is usually painless, especially compared to the toothache and sensitivity you could experience if tooth decay isn't treated.

While you may feel some discomfort, we'll administer local anaesthetic before the procedure begins, which blocks pain signals to the brain. If you feel any pain after the treatment, this can be managed by taking pain relief medication or home remedies.

Composite resin hardens quickly after it's applied to teeth, so your new filling will be ready to function like a normal tooth right away. However, we recommend waiting at least a few hours before eating or drinking until the anaesthesia wears off.

Your tooth may feel more sensitive to temperature for up to several days, but this should fade. If you have any other unexpected side effects, contact us to make an emergency appointment.

Composite resin fillings can last for 10 years or longer before you need a repeat treatment. You can help your filling to last longer by:

  • following good oral hygiene
  • not biting hard objects such as ice cubes, pencils or fingernails
  • avoiding food and drink with strong pigments that can stain fillings and teeth
  • having regular dental check-ups

No. If you're happy with your existing amalgam fillings, there is no need to replace them unless they start to come loose or if the surrounding tooth structure becomes damaged or decayed. The amount of mercury these fillings contain is not usually hazardous to health.

However, some people choose to replace their metal fillings with white fillings for aesthetic reasons because they want a whiter smile. At Sailors Bay Dentistry, our dentists can replace metal amalgam fillings with white fillings with minimal loss to your tooth's structure.

Depending on the condition of your tooth, we may recommend other options to restore its function and appearance.

  • If the damage to a tooth is more extensive, we may recommend an alternative treatment such as inlays/onlays or a dental crown. We use CEREC technology to manufacture restorations in our Northbridge clinic during a single appointment.
  • If tooth decay has reached the centre of your tooth, root canal therapy may be the only option to save the tooth and avoid an extraction. After a root canal, we'll restore your tooth's shape and strength by placing a large filling or crown.
  • You can avoid fillings by following good preventive dental care: brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing every day, cutting down on sugar in your diet and having regular dental visits.

The cost of white fillings depends on how many fillings you need, the size of the cavities and other factors.

As one of the most basic dental services, composite fillings cost is partially covered by health insurance that includes dental coverage.

Parents who are eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) will also be covered for children's fillings up to their annual limits.

Book an appointment for white fillings Sydney

To talk to a dentist in Northbridge about white composite fillings, call (02) 9958 0400 or book online. We'll schedule an appointment at our clinic at a time that's good for you and your family.

Our composite white filling dental specialists also cover the following suburbs: Castlecrag, Naremburn, Artarmon, Crows Nest, Chatswood and Lane Cove.

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