My dentist relocated to Florida, and a new dentist bought the practice. I have cracked silver fillings in three upper molar teeth. After the dentist recommended replacing them, I asked for white fillings. The dentist said that white fillings would not work because the cavities were too deep. I did not think white fillings were only for small cavities because my previous dentist mentioned replacing all my silver fillings with white ones. Are some cavities too deep for white fillings? The thought of the dentist drilling through my teeth for silver fillings makes me nervous. – Lydia
Thank you for choosing our office for your question.
Are Some Cavities Too Deep for White Filling?
A dentist can use white (composite) fillings for deep cavities. The deeper the cavity, the more it makes sense to use composite. Amalgam (silver) fillings increase tooth sensitivity to heat and cold. Deep fillings conduct more temperature changes to teeth.
Also, deep fillings are usually wide and make cavity walls thinner. Composite fillings strengthen cavity walls, but amalgam will weaken the walls and increase the risk of tooth fracture.
Check with your dental insurance company to verify if your plan provides any coverage for white fillings. Some insurance plans only contribute toward amalgam filling because they cost less.
Look for a Cosmetic Dentist
Placing composite fillings requires more skill and time. Look for a dentist with cosmetic dentistry training who understands the techniques needed to keep your teeth dry throughout the process and ensure good bonding between the tooth enamel and composite. When a dentist places composite fillings well, they are healthy for your teeth and will last for years without cracking.
A skilled dentist can use local anesthesia to prevent you from feeling pain during the procedure. But if your anxiety level is high, speak with the cosmetic dentist about helping you relax with sedation.
David Finley, DDS of Monroe, LA, sponsors this post. Dr. Finley is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.