What are white fillings?

White fillings (otherwise known as composite fillings) are used to ‘fill in’ decayed parts of a tooth. They are made of a composition of glass particles and synthetic resin.

Who can benefit from having white fillings?

Silver amalgam fillings are the generally used to fill in the tooth because they are inexpensive, strong and can withstand biting pressure. Alternatively you can have white fillings fitted to create a more natural look. They are strong but do cost more than regular amalgam fillings.


Your tooth with be anesthetised with an injection and any decay removed using a special dental drill. The white filling (composite) is then placed into the tooth, where it can then bond to the original surface. The white filling is then hardened using a light, and the process repeated several times to build up several layers. If you are having white fillings inserted into the back teeth, these are referred to as inlays. A mould of the tooth will be taken, and then you will need to come back to the dentist after the filling or ‘inlay’ has been created using the template mould. The inlay is then fitted into the tooth and bonded into place. For each process, the dentist will polish the tooth to prevent wearing and staining effects.

Recovery Period

You will be able to leave the dentist following your appointment. The anesthetic may take slightly longer to wear off however, so it is advised that you have someone else drive you home if necessary. Your tooth may be slightly sensitive for a while, but this will subside after a week or so.


White fillings should usually last for around 7-10 years, but sometimes they can wear out before this, and crack or leak, in which case you will need to have them replaced.