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Is my white filling strong enough to bite on?

Hello, i just recieved 6 fillings in my top and bottom back teeth and I recieved white fillings. I am afraid to bite down on anything too hard because I also received a bonding job done on my front tooth, and I keep researching that the bonding is very easy to break, but aren’t the bonding material and filling material made of the same substance? Which makes my back teeth(my strong teeth) very easy to break as well.
– Jake from Alexandria, IL

You have an interesting way of reasoning through this issue and part of what you say makes sense. But your conclusion isn’t correct. Let me explain.

On a front tooth, if you had bonding there on the very biting edge, the reason you may need to be careful with a filling like that doesn’t have to do with the strength of the material but with the strength of the bond to the tooth. The filling on the back tooth is a totally different situation.

Here’s a way to understand it – if you compare it to gluing pieces of wood. If you take two dowel rods and glue them end to end, well it will be hard for that glue bond to hold. This is like bonding a composite to the biting edge of a front tooth. But now take a drill and make a three-inch-deep hole in a piece of wood and glue a three-inch-long piece of dowel rod in that hole, and you’ll have a hard time getting it out. This is like the composite filling in a back tooth.

Silver amalgam is a metal and the material itself is very strong. But it doesn’t bond at all to the tooth. The composite is strong, and while it doesn’t have as much crushing strength as amalgam, it has enough to easily withstand biting pressures. But because it bonds to the tooth the whole tooth is stronger and much more resistant to breaking than your tooth would be with the silver amalgam filling.

I’d say to bite as hard as you want. Don’t bite off bottle caps, but you’re fine with any food or normal chewing.

This blog is sponsored by Naperville cosmetic dentist Dr. David Newkirk.