What Are Composite Fillings?

When you need a filling, you’re likely to have a lot of concerns. Is it going to hurt? How much is it going to cost? How long will it be before I start feeling relief? These questions and more plague many dental patients, but there’s another filling-related question that is common as well: how is getting a filling going to affect my smile?

A filling is not a cosmetic procedure by any means, but you don’t want it to have a negative impact on the appearance of your smile. Amalgam fillings, which have been used for decades, are also known as “silver fillings,” and are definitely noticeable when you open your mouth. Luckily, if that’s something you want to avoid, composite fillings are also an option.


What are composite fillings?

Composite fillings are tooth-colored fillings. They’re made of a ceramic and plastic compound that looks more like the natural color of your teeth. Because of this, they’re practically unnoticeable.


What are the pros of composite fillings?

Other than cosmetics, there are some benefits to composite fillings, including:


  • Better bonding. Composite fillings bond to a tooth’s surface, which helps strengthen the structure of the tooth.
  • Less drilling. Because of the different ways composite and amalgam fillings adhere to the tooth, composite fillings require less drilling in order to prepare the tooth for the filling. This preserves more of the healthy parts of the tooth.
  • Greater versatility. While amalgam can really only be used to fill cavities, composite material can also be used to repair chipped or broken teeth.


What are the cons of composite fillings?

While there are certainly benefits to composite fillings, there are a few important downsides as well, like:


  • Cost. Composite fillings are typically more expensive and are less likely to be covered by dental insurance plans.
  • Length of procedure. It usually takes a bit longer for your dentist to complete a filling using composite material, because the process is slightly more complicated.
  • Lasting power. Amalgam fillings can last a decade or more, while composite fillings usually last only 5-7 years before breaking down and needing to be replaced.


What is the procedure for receiving a composite filling?

Your procedure for getting your filling will depend on your specific circumstances and needs. Generally speaking, however, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area and help avoid pain during the procedure. After drilling to prepare the area and remove decay, your dentist will apply the resin, shape it, and cure it (harden it) with a blue light. Then your dentist will polish the tooth, and you’ll be on your way.


Should I get a composite filling?

The best way to know if you should choose a composite filling is by discussing it with your dentist. The type of filling you choose will depend on several factors that are unique to every individual case.


No matter what, the most important thing is that your smile is a healthy smile. Composite fillings are a great option for anyone who wants to repair decayed teeth while also maintaining a bright white smile.


If you have more questions about composite fillings or keeping your smile bright and healthy, feel free to contact us at 480-951-2800 today!