Why Are White Fillings So Expensive? Understanding the Cost of a Brighter Smile

Why Are White Fillings So Expensive tooth-coloured fillings cost

If you’ve ever needed a dental filling, you may have been surprised by the higher cost of tooth-coloured white fillings compared to traditional silver amalgam ones.

As a dentist with over 28 years of experience, I understand the concerns patients have about the expense.

Let’s explore the reasons behind the higher price tag and why investing in white fillings can be beneficial in the long run.

Key Takeaways
White fillings are more expensive than silver fillings due to the composite materials, specialised techniques, and additional time and equipment required to place them.
Factors like materials, dentist expertise, and location impact white filling costs, with prices averaging £90 to £280 per filling.
Although more costly upfront, white fillings provide long-term value with their durability, cosmetic benefits, and potential to need fewer replacements over time.
Openly discussing options with your dentist can make white fillings more affordable and accessible. The Difference Between White and Silver Fillings

Composition and Materials

White fillings, also known as composite fillings, are made from a mixture of plastic resin and fine glass particles. These materials blend seamlessly with the natural colour of your teeth, making them virtually invisible.

In contrast, silver amalgam fillings are composed of a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury, resulting in a noticeable dark appearance. Silver amalgam fillings are being banned from use in the EU from 2025.

Placement Technique and Time

Placing white fillings requires a more intricate and time-consuming process compared to silver fillings. The tooth must be kept completely dry during placement, requires more specialist instruments and equipment and the composite material is applied in layers, with each layer hardened using a special UV light.

This layering technique allows for a more secure bond and a better fit. Silver fillings, on the other hand, can be placed more quickly and don’t require the same level of precision.

Factors That Affect the Cost of White Fillings

Materials and Technology

The composite materials used in white fillings are more expensive than the metals used in silver amalgam fillings. Additionally, the specialised tools and technology needed to place white fillings, such as the curing UV light, contribute to the higher cost.

Dentist Training and Expertise

Dentists require additional training and skill to properly place white fillings. The technique is more complex and requires a keen eye for detail to ensure a seamless, natural-looking result. This expertise comes at a higher price point.

Geographic Location and Local Economy

The cost of white fillings can vary depending on your geographic location and the local economy. Prices may be higher in areas with a higher cost of living or where dental practices have higher overhead expenses.

Average Prices for White Fillings

Cost Ranges for Different Filling Sizes

The cost of a white filling depends on the size and location of the cavity. On average, prices range from £140 to £280 per filling. Smaller fillings on front teeth may cost less, while larger fillings on back teeth may be on the higher end of the range.

Comparison to Silver Amalgam Filling Prices

Silver amalgam fillings are typically less expensive than white fillings, with prices averaging £90 to £185 per filling. However, the long-term cost difference may be less significant when considering the potential need for more frequent replacements with silver fillings as these cannot be repaired as easily as white fillings.

The Long-Term Value of White Fillings

Durability and Lifespan

While white fillings may not have the same longevity as silver fillings, advances in composite materials have significantly improved their durability. With proper care and maintenance and careful placement, white fillings can last for many years, making them a worthwhile investment.

Enhanced Cosmetic Appearance

One of the primary benefits of white fillings is their ability to blend seamlessly with your natural teeth. This cosmetic advantage can boost your confidence and help you feel more comfortable smiling and laughing without worrying about noticeable fillings.

Potential for Fewer Replacements

While silver fillings may initially last longer, they can expand and contract over time, leading to cracks, leaks, and the need for replacement.

White fillings, when properly placed and cared for, may require fewer replacements in the long run, offsetting some of the initial cost difference. White fillings can be easily repaired, but amalgam fillings are difficult to repair.

Making White Fillings More Affordable

Financing Options and Dental Plans

Some dental practices offer financing options or dental plans that can make white fillings more affordable. These plans may allow you to spread the cost over time or receive discounted rates for certain services.

Discussing Costs with Your Dentist

Don’t hesitate to discuss the cost of white fillings with your dentist. They can provide a detailed breakdown of the expenses involved and help you understand your options. Together, you can create a treatment plan that fits your budget and dental health needs.

Investing in Your Smile at Kennett Road Dental Practice

At Kennett Road Dental Practice, we believe that everyone deserves a healthy, confident smile. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing high-quality dental care, including white fillings, in a welcoming and comfortable environment.

We utilise only the highest quality materials and equipment when placing white fillings. We understand that the cost of dental treatments can be a concern, which is why we offer transparent pricing and flexible payment options to make your dream smile a reality.

Don’t let the cost of white fillings hold you back from achieving the smile you desire. Contact Kennett Road Dental Practice today to book a consultation and learn how we can help make quality private dentistry more affordable. Invest in your oral health and happiness – you deserve it!

Benefits of White Fillings and Why You Should Choose it Over Amalgam

White fillings benefit before and after

As a dentist with over 28 years of experience, I’ve seen a lot of changes in dental materials and techniques. One of the most significant advancements has been the rise of white composite fillings, also known as tooth-coloured fillings. These fillings have quickly become the preferred choice for many of my patients at Kennett Road Dental Practice.

Gone are the days when the only option for fillings was the traditional silver-coloured amalgam. While amalgam fillings have been used for decades, they come with a number of drawbacks that have led many patients to seek out the benefits of white composite fillings.

The Benefits of White Composite Fillings

Benefit Description
Aesthetics White fillings are nearly invisible and seamlessly blend in with your natural teeth.
Tooth Preservation White fillings require less removal of healthy tooth structure compared to amalgam.
Reduced Sensitivity White fillings don’t conduct heat and cold like metal, minimizing tooth sensitivity.
Durability Modern white fillings are incredibly strong and long-lasting, similar to traditional amalgam.
Safety White fillings are free of mercury, a toxic heavy metal found in amalgam fillings.

1. Aesthetics

One of the primary reasons why patients choose white composite fillings is the aesthetic advantage. These fillings are designed to closely match the colour of your natural teeth, making them virtually invisible.

No more unsightly metallic glints when you laugh or smile – your dental work will blend seamlessly with the rest of your smile. This is a game-changer for many of my patients who are self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth. With white fillings, they can restore their teeth’s function without compromising the aesthetics.

2. Tooth Preservation

Another significant benefit of white composite fillings is that they require less removal of healthy tooth structure during the preparation process. With amalgam fillings, the dentist needs to drill away more of the tooth to create a secure, mechanical fit.

In contrast, white composite fillings bond directly to the tooth surface, allowing us to preserve more of your natural tooth. This is important for maintaining the overall strength and integrity of the tooth, reducing the risk of further damage or decay, and reducing the risk of cracks spreading through the teeth.

3. Reduced Sensitivity

Metal amalgam fillings are known to be excellent conductors of heat and cold, which can lead to increased tooth sensitivity for many patients. This can be particularly problematic for teeth with fillings, as they may experience discomfort when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages.

White composite fillings, on the other hand, are far less conductive, helping to minimize sensitivity and improve patient comfort. This is a critical benefit, especially for patients who struggle with sensitive teeth.

4. Durability

In the past, white composite fillings were sometimes seen as less durable than their amalgam counterparts. However, advancements in dental materials and techniques have significantly improved the strength and longevity of these fillings.

Today’s white composite fillings are incredibly strong and can withstand the immense forces of chewing and grinding, making them a suitable option for both front and back teeth. With proper care and maintenance and expert placement, these fillings can last for many years, providing a long-lasting solution for restoring damaged or decayed teeth.

5. Safety

Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of white composite fillings is their safety profile. Amalgam fillings contain a significant amount of mercury, a toxic heavy metal that has been the subject of much debate and concern in the dental community. While the scientific consensus is that amalgam fillings are generally safe for the general population, some patients prefer to avoid mercury exposure altogether.

Indeed the use of mercury in dental fillings is being banned in the European Union from 1st January 2025. White composite fillings, on the other hand, are completely free of mercury and other heavy metals, providing a safe and biocompatible option for dental restorations.

Still not sure? Check out our white-filling page now.

If you’re in need of a dental filling, don’t settle for outdated amalgam solutions. Experience the numerous benefits of white composite fillings at Kennett Road Dental Practice. Our team of experienced dentists is dedicated to providing personalised, high-quality care that will leave you with a healthy, beautiful smile you can be proud of.

Contact us today to book your appointment and learn more about the advantages of white composite fillings. Reclaim your confidence and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a safe, durable, and aesthetically pleasing dental restoration. Your smile is in good hands with Kennett Road Dental Practice.

Teeth Whitening in Oxford

Teeth Whitening Oxford

A bright, white smile is often considered a symbol of good dental health, youth and personal hygiene. There are so many different products and procedures for teeth whitening available but not all of them are safe and some can cause oral health problems. 

Here are 5 reasons why you should visit your dentist before starting your teeth whitening journey.

1. To assess your dental health 

Before undergoing any teeth whitening procedure, it’s essential to have a dental examination. A dentist can assess the health of your teeth and gums to ensure they are in a suitable condition for whitening treatments.

2. To become informed on suitable teeth whitening options 

From whitening toothpaste to bleaching gels, a wide variety of home teeth-whitening products are available. However, not all products are suitable for everyone. Different individuals have varying dental conditions, and what works for one person may not be safe or effective for another. A dentist can recommend the right products based on your oral health and advise on their proper usage.

3. To prevent teeth whitening overuse

One common mistake with home teeth whitening is overuse or excessive exposure to whitening agents. DIY kits often lack precise instructions, leading to users leaving the products on for longer than recommended. This overuse can cause tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, and damage to the tooth enamel.

4. To prevent teeth sensitivity 

Whitening agents can cause tooth sensitivity, especially if used incorrectly or excessively. Dentists can recommend an appropriate concentration of the whitening solution to minimise discomfort during and after the whitening process.Your dentist can also recommend treatments to minimise or eliminate tooth sensitivity. Without professional guidance, individuals may suffer from prolonged sensitivity and discomfort.

5. To prevent oral health problems 

Some DIY whitening methods involve using abrasive materials or aggressive techniques that can harm your teeth and gums. Without professional oversight, you may inadvertently damage your enamel or cause gum recession, leading to more significant oral health issues down the line. Remember, only a registered dental professional is legally allowed to carry out tooth whitening procedures.

Consulting a dentist before undergoing any teeth whitening procedure, even at home, is crucial to ensure a safe, effective, and personalised approach. Remember, professional guidance and supervision can help you achieve the bright smile you desire without risking your oral health.

If you’re considering teeth whitening in Oxfordshire, get in contact with our friendly team at Kennett Road Dental – Call 01865 761965

Spring Cleaning for Your Smile: Tips for Refreshing Your Oral Health Routine

Spring Cleaning for Your Smile: Tips for Refreshing Your Oral Health Routine

Spring is here, which means it’s the perfect time to refresh your oral health routine and give your smile a spring cleaning! At Kennett Road Dental Practice, we believe that taking care of your oral health is an essential part of your overall health and wellbeing. That’s why we’ve put together some tips to help you refresh your oral health routine this spring.

Schedule a Dental Check-up

Spring is a great time to schedule a dental check-up. Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining good oral health and preventing any potential dental problems from developing into more serious issues. Our team at Kennett Road Dental Practice can help identify any issues and provide you with the necessary treatments to ensure a healthy smile.

Brush and Floss Regularly

Spring cleaning your smile starts with a good brushing and flossing routine. It’s important to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and floss or use interdental brushes once a day to remove any food particles and bacteria that can build up on and between your teeth. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every three to four months to ensure you’re getting the best clean possible.

Switch to Healthier Snacks

Spring is a great time to refresh your diet and switch to healthier snacks that are better for your oral health. Choose crunchy fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples and celery that can help clean your teeth while you eat.

Cut Back on Sugary Treats

We all love indulging in sweets and treats, but too much sugar can lead to cavities and other dental problems. Spring is the perfect time to cut back on sugary treats and opt for healthier snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is essential for maintaining good oral health. Water helps to wash away food particles and bacteria in your mouth, preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and consider swapping sugary drinks for water.

Consider Cosmetic Treatments

If you are looking to refresh your smile for spring, consider cosmetic dental treatments like teeth whitening, composite bonding or veneers. These treatments can help to improve the appearance of your teeth and boost your confidence. Talk to your dentist about which cosmetic treatments are right for you.

Consider Professional Teeth Cleaning

If you’re looking for a deeper clean, consider professional teeth cleaning. Our friendly hygienist Krystyna can provide you with a thorough cleaning that can help remove any stubborn plaque and stains that may have built up on your teeth. We use a new air polishing system that removes stains quickly and gently.

Spring is the perfect time to refresh your oral health routine and give your smile the attention it deserves. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your oral health stays in great shape for the rest of the year. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a dental check-up or professional teeth cleaning, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Kennett Road Dental Practice. We’re always here to help!

Filling You in on Fillings

Filling you in on fillings at Kennett Road Dental

We’ve spoken a lot on our blog about oral health, hygiene, and habits but we think it might be time to talk about what your options are if dental problems do occur. Sometimes, despite our best efforts at maintaining a good oral care routine, we need help from a dentist. That’s why we’re here after all. We’re always happy to do cosmetic work on your teeth to improve your confidence in your smile but that’s certainly not all we do.

One of the most common treatments we have to perform is the placing of fillings. So, we thought it might be helpful to inform you of the different types of fillings and in what situations they are used so you know your options if you ever need to have one. Colgate advises that “most people will need at least one filling in their lifetime”, so if you have to get one, you’re certainly not alone.

What is a filling?

A filling is a substance that is applied to a tooth that has broken down over time. This fills the cavity in the tooth, hence why they are referred to as fillings. They can help to defend against further tooth decay by forming a physical barrier between the cavity and future food particles your tooth will come into contact with.

When are fillings used?

When a cavity appears in a tooth which can affect your oral health or day-to-day life a filling is necessary. For example, if you are feeling increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks in one tooth, in particular, you may be advised to get a filling to remedy this. That is because the likely cause of severe tooth sensitivity is a cavity which is increasingly allowing food particles and bacteria to irritate the nerve of your tooth.

A filling will restore the tooth and reduce the chance of infection and further decay which will cause more symptoms and necessitate more expensive, complex treatment down the line.

What are fillings made of?

There are different types of fillings and sealants. Which kind you opt for may depend on the extent of the damage to the tooth and also which tooth the problem is affecting may influence your decision.

Essentially there are three common types of fillings:

  • Mercury Amalgam (silver) fillings – The NHS advises that these are composed of “a mixture of metals, including mercury, silver, tin and copper.” These are hard-wearing metals which can usually withstand many years of chewing. However, they are not usually the first choice for a highly visible tooth since they are grey or silver in colour and can stand out against the colour of your teeth. Nowadays, people requiring a filling usually elect to have a composite resin (white) filling which blends into the smile better and requires less drilling. This is a personal choice and one to make through conversations with your dentist.
  • Composite resins (white) fillings – These are tooth-coloured fillings and are usually made from a mixture of glass and resin which will look more natural in your mouth than a grey-coloured one. This material bonds to your tooth so requires less drilling than a mercury amalgam filling. These fillings usually require extra skills and equipment to place.

Fillings differ slightly from fissure sealants in that a filling (or dental restoration) is designed to not only effectively block bacteria from causing further harm but also restore the function and integrity of the tooth whereas a fissure sealant only seals the fissure against bacteria.

  • Fissure sealants – Deep pits and grooves can be found on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Such pits and grooves are termed ‘fissures’ and are usually so narrow that toothbrush bristles and streams of water are not able to clean them effectively. Fissure sealants can be applied to the teeth to protect these areas.

Fissure sealants are a form of flowable white, or clear filling material used by dentists to seal off pits and fissures from the oral environment. Sealing the tooth surface protects fissures from bacteria and foods like sugar and starches, to prevent decay from starting deep within the fissures.

As we say, we hope you’ll never need to know the difference between a composite and amalgam filling, but the chances are, you will at some point. Remember though, that fillings are no substitute for a consistent, daily oral care routine and regular trips to the dentist and hygienist.

If you have any questions about the fillings that we offer and recommend at Kennett Road Dental Practice, you can ask at your next check-up or appointment with us, or you can contact us here.

Wising up on Wisdom Teeth: What are They and What do you Need to do About Them?

The arrival of wisdom teeth can fill some people with anxiety and even despair. Everyone has heard of a friend of a friend who had their wisdom teeth out and couldn’t eat properly for months after the procedure. We thought it might be helpful to debunk some of these wisdom teeth myths and alleviate some anxiety about wisdom teeth.

What are wisdom teeth? Wisdom teeth are so named because they usually arrive after a person has reached maturity. Well, medically speaking, at least. Sometimes called third molars, these teeth usually erupt well after all the other teeth have been in place and settled for many years. The most common time to start feeling wisdom teeth growing in the back of the mouth is when a person is in their late teens or early twenties. Often, people with wisdom teeth will have four: one in each corner of the mouth, behind the usual two molars.

Why do we have wisdom teeth? It’s not entirely clear why many people have third molars, but one theory suggests that it might have something to do with evolution. Healthline advises that “one belief is that wisdom teeth served as replacement teeth for our distant ancestors. Today, we eat foods that are soft or tender, and most people practice good oral hygiene. Both factors help reduce the likelihood of losing teeth.” It is true that tooth loss has decreased over time which would indicate that it might have been very common for tooth loss to occur in ages gone by. Perhaps a new molar in each corner to replace lost teeth might have come in very useful once upon a time if our ancestors wanted to eat more than soup.

Are wisdom teeth bad? No, not at all! Most people have wisdom teeth, though some people don’t have all four and occasionally some people have none at all. Wisdom teeth are perfectly natural and although your dentist will sometimes recommend that they be removed, for the majority of people, they are completely harmless. Wisdom teeth can sometimes ache when they are breaking through the gums, but the pain is usually short lived. If they are causing you serious pain or the pain doesn’t subside, it’s advisable to see your dentist to make sure everything is as it should be.

When are they a problem? Although most wisdom teeth are quite harmless and just want to be left in peace to accomplish their destiny of grinding up vegetation in your mouth, there are some instances when wisdom teeth can become troublesome. Wisdom teeth don’t always grow correctly. If they were supposed to replace lost teeth which haven’t actually been lost, then it would explain why they can sometimes lack the room to grow properly in the mouth. The NHS advises that “because of the lack of space, wisdom teeth can sometimes emerge at an angle or get stuck and only partially emerge. Wisdom teeth that grow through like this are known as impacted.”

Impacted teeth may cause you no pain or dental problems at all, in which case it’s best to let them be, but sometimes impacted wisdom teeth or semi-emerged wisdom teeth can cause food and bacteria to become trapped around them which can result in a build-up of plaque. This can, in turn, lead to gum disease, tooth decay or bacterial infections. It is worth mentioning that many of these problems can be solved by improving your daily oral hygiene routines and by following advice from your dentist and hygienist.

What can be done about them? Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain in the mouth and gums and may need to be removed by a dentist. According to the NHS “if your dentist thinks you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed, they’ll usually carry out an X-ray of your mouth. This gives them a clearer view of the position of your teeth.” If the X-ray shows that your teeth are impacted or likely to cause problems , they might suggest having them removed.

When it is necessary for a wisdom tooth to be removed, it will usually be done using local anaesthetic.

For more information about how dentists or oral surgeons remove wisdom teeth, you can speak to your dentist or see the NHS website which provides useful information about the procedure and recovery. Kennett Road Dental Practice are always happy to discuss your dental worries and offer professional and impartial advice. If you are concerned about your wisdom teeth or suspect that one is impacted, you can get in touch with one of our friendly team here.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Invisalign

Invisalign is a tooth aligning treatment which uses aligner trays made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic which is worn over your teeth to subtly and gently move them over a period of time. The aligners are custom made for each patient by taking a 3D scan of their mouth.

If you are looking to straighten your teeth or your child’s teeth, you may have heard of Invisalign as an alternative to traditional brace treatments.

This article gives you some advice on the orthodontic treatment to help you decide if Invisalign is a suitable tooth aligning treatment for you as an individual.

So, what is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a tooth aligning treatment which uses aligner trays made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic which is worn over your teeth to subtly and gently move them over a period of time. The aligners are custom made for each patient by taking a 3D scan of their mouth.

What are the advantages of Invisalign over braces?

  • Invisalign is more aesthetic

The biggest benefit of Invisalign is that the retainers are virtually invisible. This is a great treatment for adult patients who are concerned that traditional braces will leave them feeling self-conscious.

  • You don’t have to change what you eat

With Invisalign, you take the aligners out to eat which means you don’t have to change what you eat or how you eat it like you do with braces.

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth is easier with Invisalign

You’ll have to remove your Invisalign retainers to brush your teeth but with nothing on your teeth to worry about, you can continue brushing and flossing as you did before your dental treatment.

  • Less appointments are required

For Invisalign, most of the orthodontist’s work happens before you wear your aligners. You change the multiple sets of aligners but there is no need to visit the orthodontics for adjustments to the aligners, so visits are kept to a minimum to check on progress. This is great for adults who want to minimise the amount of time they miss off work for dental appointments.

What are the disadvantages of Invisalign?

  • Patients need to be strict

If you are someone who will forget to put their aligners back in after they have brushed their teeth, you won’t be wearing them for the required 22 hours per day so your treatment may take longer and not produce the best results.

  • Removing aligners to eat or drink can be inconvenient

Aligners need to be removed before eating and drinking anything other than water. When you are out in public, you need to remove your aligners discretely and not lose them and then before putting your aligners back on you must brush your teeth. In some situations, this isn’t ideal and can be a bit tricky! It’s important not to have any food particles in your teeth when putting the aligners back in as they can stop your teeth from moving and stain them.

  • Generally speaking, Invisalign is not as effective as braces

Invisalign isn’t typically recommended for complex orthodontic cases. Make sure you ask your orthodontist if they expect the same result from braces and Invisalign.

If you would like to learn more about how Kennett Road Dental in Headington, Oxfordshire can improve your dental health and smile with Invisalign treatments – Get your consultation booked in today!

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