Composite resin fillings or white fillings are the most common treatment choices for restoring teeth to function and integrity. The appealing aesthetic of white fillings is one of the major benefits. White fillings offer you with a natural-looking alternative to metal amalgam restorations. White restorations, which are virtually undetectable in the mouth.

What are the different fillings materials used?


Composite (tooth coloured) fillings are very popular and most recommended fillings because of their aesthetically pleasing quality, which offers a more natural look. The material comes in many different shades, and even in different translucencies, so the restoration is a perfect match to your teeth. Many patients have chosen to replace their existing amalgam fillings to composite, leaving their teeth beautifully appealing.

However, your teeth will be assessed on an individual basis and the best restorative material will be discussed. 

White fillings are commonly used to repair cavities in front teeth and to fill small to medium sized areas of decay in your back teeth. This material is pretty strong but is not so suitable for filling larger areas of decay in back teeth as these are subjected to heavy chewing forces. These larger filings are called inlays and onlays.

What are inlays and onlays?

An inlay replaces the central chewing surface of a back tooth, but an onlay will replace a larger area which includes the central chewing area plus one or more of the cusps. Tooth cusps are the raised points you can see on the edges closest to your cheeks and tongue.

What are inlays and onlays made up of?

Inlays and onlays can be made from resin, gold or porcelain. In today’s modern porcelain can easily withstand the forces created during chewing and of course they look beautiful and natural.

What is the difference between fillings and Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays cover larger surface areas and are constructed from more robust materials in a lab, prior to cementation in your mouth. They undergo less shrinkage and hence can last longer, especially when a larger quantity of tooth surface is missing.

They will require 2 visits as they need to be made in a dental laboratory.

The dentist will prepare your tooth before scanning it with a very small camera so there is no need to have any impressions. This information is then sent to the laboratory who will fabricate the inlay/onlay . Once it is completed it will be hand finished and polished before being fitted and cemented in your mouth.

Frequently Asked Questions

When you find that your old fillings are starting to deteriorate, consider white fillings as a suitable alternative replacement.

  • Regular brushing and flossing with soft toothbrush twice daily
  • Do not use abrasive toothpaste
  • Reduce exposure to tobacco, smoking coffee, red wine etc
  • Do not rinse with mouthwashes containing alcohol
  • Do not use your teeth for opening packages, biting thread, chewing ice, nail biting etc
  • Visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups.

Conventional fillings tend to shrink when they dry and can produce small gaps between the filling and the tooth. These micro holes may, in certain cases, lead to discomfort and decay over time. As inlays and onlays are made from stronger materials in a lab and cemented before being placed inside your mouth, they are less prone to shrinkage. Thus, they can last longer, especially when a larger quantity of tooth surface is missing. They will require 2 visits to enable the lab to construct the inlay, or onlay, after the tooth has been prepared.

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