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White & Amalgam Fillings

White fillings and amalgam fillings are used to repair a cavity in your tooth caused by decay.

The most common type of filling is the ‘silver’ filling or dental amalgam. This is made from a mixture of mercury and different metals. Dental amalgam fillings are often used on your back teeth as they are hard-wearing.

Fillings can be made to look natural i.e. white or tooth coloured. Understandably people are conscious about the way they look, so they do not want silver fillings to be visible when they laugh or smile.

White filling example

White Composite Fillings

If you need a filling for one of your front teeth, your dentist may suggest a tooth-coloured filling so that it is less noticeable. The use of tooth-coloured fillings on back teeth is considered purely cosmetic but with modern dental composites proving very reliable, many people opt for these instead of amalgam filling.

Three types of tooth filling are available at FHDC:

  • Amalgam (silver coloured) – a mixture of metals including mercury, silver, tin, and copper
  • Composite (tooth coloured) – powdered glass and ceramic added to a resin base. These white fillings can be a close match to your natural tooth colour.
  • Glass Ionomer (tooth coloured) – powdered glass, which reacts chemically with your tooth and bonds to it. This is weaker than composite so is generally used on baby teeth or around the sides of teeth

Historically white fillings were considered less durable than silver amalgam fillings. With significant advances in dental materials and technology there are now new materials available that are comparable to silver amalgam. These are proving to be very successful. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite. Your dental team can advise you on how long your fillings should last.

Benefits of dental fillings from FHDC

  • Our dentists will always try and save your tooth if possible.
  • You can choose between Tooth Coloured / White Fillings and ‘Sliver’ Amalgam fillings.
  • The benefits of each filling type will be explained.
  • Our dentists are used to providing this treatment and will make it as comfortable as possible.
  • Your cosmetic needs will be taken into consideration and discussed with you.


Is it worth replacing my amalgam fillings with white ones?

Whilst you may prefer to have white coloured fillings it is usually best to change fillings only when your dentist decide that an old filling needs replacing. You can then ask to have it replaced with a tooth coloured material. Removing old fillings is a mechanical process (using the dental drill) and whilst your dentist will try and avoid removing any of your remaining tooth, this is not always possible. Most dentists would prefer to try and maintain as much healthy tooth as possible. There are however cases where patients feel that the benefits of having more aesthetically pleasing teeth is worth it. Your dentist will be happy to discuss this with you.

Are there any alternatives to fillings?

There are alternatives such as dental crowns and inlays, although they can cost a lot more than fillings. Veneers can also be used on front teeth instead of crowns or fillings. It is also possible to have the tooth extracted.

Get in touch

To discuss how Far Headingley Dental Care can provide you with white and ‘silver’ fillings, please complete the enquiry form on this page or call our practice on 0113 275 1323 during normal office hours.

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