Composite Dental Fillings

The modern, tooth-colored alternative to traditional mercury amalgam (silver) fillings

Why a Composite Filling?

Composite dental fillings are used to replace tooth structure that is lost to decay, an accident, wear, and it is used cosmetically to change the shape and color of teeth.

  • Decay on a portion of any tooth
  • Decay around an existing filling
  • Desire to replace old-fashioned mercury (silver) fillings with a safe tooth colored restoration
  • Desire to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile
  • Desire to repair a chip or fracture in a natural tooth.
  • Desire to repair worn areas of teeth

What is a Composite Filling?

The left photo shows traditional mercury amalgam dental fillings. On the right, modern resin composite dental fillings are shown.

A composite filling is a tooth-colored BPE free resin material. After tooth decay is removed, this material is layered into the tooth. Each layer is cured with a high intensity blue light and the final surface is shaped and polished. The final restoration is virtually invisible.

The Benefits of a Composite Filling

Composite fillings are much more than just attractive. They are environmentally non-toxic because they use no mercury as amalgam filling do. Composites require less tooth structure removal because they are bonded to the tooth, as opposed to “wedged” in to the tooth as amalgam fillings are. As a result of not needing to remove healthy tooth structure, the tooth is much less likely to fracture. Composites will not stain the tooth dark or corrode as amalgam fillings do. Since composites use bonding adhesives, they do not leak around the periphery of the filling, which decreases new decay from forming and requiring replacement.

How do I Care for my Composite Filling?

Immediately after your composite filling procedure you may still experience some numbness while the local anesthetic wears off. For your safety we recommend that you don’t eat until the numbness wears off. Once its worn off, you can eat and drink as normal. Unlike a mercury amalgam filling, composite sets instantly and doesn’t require any additional post-operative care. A composite filling requires the same maintenance as your other teeth. Brush and floss as you normally would.

Are there other treatment options?

Inlays or onlays , whether they are ceramic or gold, are the state-of-the-art alternatives to composite fillings, depending on the size of the cavity and whether the most durable restoration is desired. In cases of extensive decay or loss of healthy tooth structure, ceramic or gold crowns may be the only alternative.