What Are Composite Fillings?

A composite filling is a resin-based material commonly known as a white filling or a tooth colored filling.  It is used to restore cavities in teeth and because of its color it can be used for cosmetic improvements. It is one of the many cosmetic dentistry services we offer.

Composite Filling image
Composite Filling

What Types of Fillings Are There? What Are the Pros and Cons of Fillings?

The five most commonly used filling types are composite, amalgam, gold, porcelain and glass ionomer.

Composite Fillings (Tooth Colored)

Pros

  • Aesthetic – Resin fillings blend with your natural teeth and rarely can be distinguished.
  • Conservative – Resin fillings are very conservative and preserve your natural tooth structure.
  • Adhesion – Resin fillings creates a bond with your natural teeth, which helps insulate the tooth from temperature changes.

Cons

  • Longevity – Resin fillings may need future replacement and do not last as long. Overtime color can change from foods/drinks.
  • Destruction of tooth structureAmalgam fillings require more tooth structure to be removed to hold the filling in place.
  • Allergy – Amalgam fillings are made of metals consisting of mercury, in some cases it has shown potential health hazards and allergic reactions.
  • Cracks and Fractures – Amalgam fillings overtime can lead to higher risk of fractures due to a wider degree of expansion, contraction, and corrosion of the material.

Amalgam Fillings (Silver)

Pros

  • Longevity Amalgam fillings have been around for centuries and proven the longest lasting.
  • DurabilityAmalgam fillings are strong and pliable, which can resist strong chewing forces.
  • CostAmalgam fillings are usually the least expensive to fill cavities.

Cons

  • ColorAmalgam fillings are silver in color and darken over time.
  • Post-Op Sensitivity – Resin fillings that are very large can sometimes cause tooth sensitivity due to shrinkage in the material.

Gold Fillings

Pros

  • LongevityGold fillings can last around 10-15 years, and unlike amalgams usually do not corrode.
  • StrengthGold fillings are strong and most compatible to your natural teeth; it can bear load from chewing forces.

Cons

  • Color Gold fillings are not as popular today due to aesthetics of the material.
  • CostGold fillings can be very expensive and are higher in cost than all other fillings.
  • Office Visits – Gold fillings require at least two office visits.

Porcelain Fillings

Pros

  • LongevityPorcelain fillings can last around 10-15 years.
  • StrengthPorcelain fillings are stronger than resin materials thus lasting longer.
  • ColorPorcelain fillings are more resistant to staining and unlike resin fillings do not change much in color.

Cons

  • Tooth RemovalPorcelain fillings may need more removal of natural tooth structure.
  • CostPorcelain fillings can be very expensive and cost almost as much as a gold filling.
  • Office Visits – Porcelain fillings require at least two office visits.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Pros

  • Fluoride ReleasingGlass ionomer fillings release fluoride to help fight against tooth decay.
  • TechniqueGlass ionomer fillings are not as technique sensitive and so are easier to place.

Cons

  • LongevityGlass ionomer fillings are generally weaker than resin fillings so they do not last long and more susceptible to fractures. They are typically placed on baby teeth since they degrade over time.

How Are Composite Fillings Placed?

A composite filling uses a technique called bonding to adhere to your natural tooth. Sometimes, if the cavity is small, no anesthetic is needed. However, in most cases, your dentist will administer anesthetic so you are comfortable during the procedure. 

Steps of Placing a Composite Filling:

  • Removal of all tooth decay.
  • Application of etch and bond so filling can adhere.
  • Placement of dental composite.
  • Light curing of dental composite so it hardens.
  • Final shaping, polishing, and bite adjustment.

After a composite filling is light cured it is the hardest it will be, and once the anesthetic wears off you can go back to chewing normal and no extra precaution is needed.

Schedule Your Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry Appointment with Clear Dental Studio in Broomfield, CO Today!

If you live in the Broomfield area and are in need of a dental evaluation, cleaning, assessment or any other dental services, turn to Clear Dental Studio. Dr. Martha Ha and her team of dental specialists are known for performing exceptional dental work for the residents of Broomfield and beyond and can do the same for you! Whether you need cosmetic, restorative, preventive, or surgery-oriented dental services, the choice is Clear. Call now or book online to schedule an appointment at our office in Broomfield.