Do white fillings turn black?

This blog post will address the topic, “do white fillings turn black” and cover topics like what a filling is, types of filling materials, comparison between composite fillings and amalgam filling, all about white fillings, how long do white fillings last, are white fillings strong, can black or discolored white fillings be whitened and taking care of your white fillings.

Do White Fillings Turn Black?

Yes, white fillings such as composites, ceramics and glass ionomers may turn black after a certain duration due to their wearing and tearing, or smoking, or strong stains from foods and drinks.

What Is A Dental Filling?

Dental filling, as the name suggests, is the use of various materials to fill the hole in the teeth called cavities

Materials used to fill the cavities are referred to as Filling Materials and the process is known as Dental Filling.

Types Of Filling Materials

Variety of materials are used for filling. Some of them are listed below:

  • Gold fillings 
  • Porcelain 
  • Silver amalgam  
  • Tooth-colored materials called composite resin fillings
  • Glass Ionomer

Several factors that need consideration while choosing the best filling material for yourself are:

  • Where is the decay located?
  • How much decay has involved the tooth?
  • If the roots are involved?
  • Amount you can bear for a filling?
  • Recommendation of the dentist after full examination and X-Ray

After taking all the above points in consideration, you can choose the best filling material for yourself that will have maximum efficacy and minimum discomfort.

Tooth Colored Composite Filling Vs. Amalgam Filling

Composite FillingAmalgam Filling
Tooth Colored With Good AestheticsSilver Colored With Poor Aesthetics
Cavity preparation involves removal of less tooth structureMore tooth structure is removed during cavity preparation involving even the healthy parts of the tooth
Lasts for at most 5 years and is less durableLasts for at least 10 to 15 years and is highly durable
No discoloration is observedGrayish discoloration is observed in the surrounding tooth
Filling process takes longer as curing is involvedFilling process is 20 minutes quicker when compared to composite filling
Expensive and costs two times more than amalgam fillingAmalgam filling is inexpensive
Incidences of cracks and fracture is rareCracks and fractures occur frequently along with few allergic reaction cases
Composite bonds to the tooth structure micro-mechanically by creating pores for additional supportPartial or total etching is now done to bond amalgam to the tooth structure

 

White Fillings: Composites, Ceramics And Glass Ionomers

Composites

Pros:

  1. Aesthetics — Composite fillings closely match the tooth color and therefore are most commonly used for anterior(front) teeth.
  1. Micro-mechanical bonding with tooth structure for support.
  1. Additional uses of composite fillings — Composite fillings have additional use in repairing chipped or broken teeth.
  1. Cavity preparation involves removal of less tooth structure as compared to amalgam fillings.

Cons:

  1. Lasts for at most 5 years, is less durable and also bears less strength compared to amalgam fillings which last for more than 10-15 years.
  1. Filling process takes 20 minutes longer than amalgam fillings as curing is involved.
  1. Multi-visits are possible when composites are used as inlays or onlays.
  1. Composite fillings being tooth colored are two times more expensive than metal colored amalgam fillings.

Ceramics

  • Porcelain is most commonly used in preparing ceramics.
  • Stain resistance is more when compared to composites.
  • Lasts three times more than the composites, for at least 15 years.
  • Being tooth colored and also more durable makes it as expensive as gold.

Glass Ionomers

  • Prepared from acrylic and glass material of specific type
  • Very weak filling material
  • Being weak, it is avoided from use on biting surfaces and common for filling tooth of young children
  • Chemically bonds to the tooth
  • Fluoride release is common and therefore protects the tooth from developing cavities and undergoing decay.
  • Old generation glass ionomer fillings lasted for less than 5 years but new generation of these fillings last more
  • Cost is comparable to composites

How Long Do The White Fillings Last?

Even if you take all necessary precautions, you might end up ruining your filling because they are not durable for more than 10 to 15 years in case of silver fillings and 5 to 10 years in case of composite fillings.

Are White Fillings Strong?

White fillings that belong to the new generation are much stronger and can bear more pressure than the old ones.

White fillings micro-mechanically bond to the tooth structure and provide stability and strength. 

They are however less strong than amalgam fillings and last for 5 to 10 years when compared to amalgam fillings which last for more than 15 years. 

Can Black or Discolored White Fillings Be Whitened?

No, once the white fillings are discolored or turn black, they cannot be whitened and have to be replaced.

However, most of the time the stain is only on the surface and can be removed by polishing or mild abrasion with the help of sandpaper.

Taking Care Of Your White Fillings

White fillings, if taken care of, may not stain and last longer. Taking care of your white fillings is easy and involves:

Toothbrushing

It is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) to  brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a toothpaste containing fluoride. 

It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning, just after waking up and once at night, just before going to bed.

You must also clean your teeth and gums, each time after you have food but not with a toothbrush. Simple rinse with water is considered good for overall oral health and hygiene.

Following this tooth brushing habit will help you prevent cavity formation in the first place and also help your cavity fillings last longer.

Flossing

Yes, you can floss after a filling, but you have to be cautious of not doing it forcefully and extra cautious when the filling is on tooth edge.

Flossing after a filling must be done gently using an extra-thin floss. It is essential to curb bad bacteria and prevent interproximal caries.

It is recommended to brush twice a day for two minutes each everyday and floss twice daily even after a filling.

Mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwashes, as the name suggests have therapeutic action and control dental conditions like gingivitis, tooth decay and periodontal diseases. They also help remove halitosis.

Occasional use of mouthwash along with daily brushing and flossing helps keep bad oral bacteria away and thus prevents formation of cavities and allows cavity fillings to last longer.

CONCLUSION 

This blog post addressed the topic, “do white fillings turn black”. We understood what a filling is, types of filling materials, comparison between composites and amalgam and all about white fillings. The article outlined how long do white fillings last, are white fillings strong, can black or discolored white fillings be whitened and how to take care of your white fillings.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): Do White Fillings Turn Black

Do Fillings Weaken Your Teeth?

No, not all fillings weaken your teeth but only some large fillings do. To fill large cavities, a large portion of your natural tooth is removed resulting in weakening of the tooth.

Compared to other filling materials, amalgam filling requires a significantly larger portion of your tooth structure to be removed involving even some healthy part, resulting in weakening of your teeth.

Do Teeth Rot After Filling?

Yes, if the seal is inappropriate, or if the seal breakdown due to excessive contraction and expansion of the filling material, the cavity causing bacteria may invade, resulting in cavity reformation and rotting of your teeth.

In order to prevent cavities from reappearing even after filling, daily brushing your teeth twice is essential along with daily flossing and occasional mouthwash.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Tooth Filling?

Tooth filling may have a few disadvantages like discoloration of tooth and even blackening of tooth in case of amalgam fillings. Other than this, amalgam filling requires removal of a large portion of your tooth structure and therefore may weaken your tooth.

Improper filling and failed fillings are more disadvantageous as it may cause reappearance of cavities, destruction and tooth loss and may even cause galvanic shock and more pain and discomfort.

Do Cavity Fillings Last Forever?

No, unfortunately cavity fillings do not last forever. Even if you take all necessary precautions, you might end up ruining your filling because they are not durable for more than 10-15 years in case of silver fillings and 5 years in case of composite fillings.

Shelf-life of cavity fillings depend on several factors like type of filling material, oral hygiene, eating habits, habits like teeth grinding and health of surrounding teeth.

Do fillings need to be replaced?

Yes, fillings need to be replaced once it falls out or wears out leaving the cavity exposed to bacterial infiltration.

Tooth cavity filling materials are constantly subjected to biting force, or may be stress from teeth clenching, wearing them out slowly and slowly, ultimately leading to their fall out, cracking or chipping off.

Once fillings are worn out, replacement is needed to prevent bacterial invasion and cavity reappearance.

Other FAQs about Teeth Filling that you may be interested in.

Do teeth fill ins hurt?

Do fillings require numbing?

Do fillings really hurt?

References:

What Is a Filling? Colgate

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/fillings/what-is-a-filling

Dental Health and Tooth Fillings. (2019)

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-fillings

Dental Health and Tooth Fillings. (2019)

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-fillings

Dental Fillings Are Durable But Don’t Last Forever – Colgate

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/fillings/replacing-fillings

How Long Do Fillings Last? Types, Prevention & More

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-do-fillings-last

How to prevent white fillings from turning black?

Do white fillings need to be replaced

Can You Ruin A white Filling?

Conclusion

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