A filling replaces part of a tooth that has been lost because of decay or through accidental damage. You may hear the dentist talk about "composite", "glass ionomer" and "compomer" - these are different types of white filling.
Your dentist will:
Unlike silver (amalgam) fillings, white filling material sticks to teeth and can form edges, so it may be effectively used to repair front teeth that are chipped, broken, decayed or worn. It can also be used as a "veneer" to cover marks or discolouration that cleaning won't remove.
White fillings are less noticeable than silver fillings, which may turn black in the mouth. White fillings come in a range of shades so they can be matched to the colour of your own teeth. A tooth needs less preparation for a white filling than for a silver filling.
White fillings can sometimes be used in back teeth if there is not too much decay or damage, but they may be less durable than silver fillings under the wear and tear of chewing. White fillings are also more difficult to place in back teeth, as they need very dry conditions, which can be hard to achieve right at the back of your mouth.