What Are Composite Fillings?

Composite-resin material is made up of a durable resin mixed with ground porcelain, quartz, or glass. Available in a wide range of shades, composite resins are designed to mimic the natural opacity of your teeth, creating repairs that are virtually invisible.

Composite-resin is made of porcelain, mixed with glass or quartz. The material comes in many different shades, and we will select a color that is virtually identical to your tooth. Traditionally only applied to visible teeth, adhesive dentistry is now stable and reliable enough to be used back teeth that are subjected to more biting force. Although slightly more expensive than amalgam fillings, most dental insurance companies cover composite resin fillings and count them as basic dental work.

Modern Advances In Composite Fillings

Resins have changed over the years, and new tooth colored fillings are stronger and more durable than ever before. Modern varieties are designed to match tooth color and sheen exactly, and created to bond to dental enamel tightly. New composites are even designed to flex slightly with the rest of the tooth, creating strong repairs that function just like natural teeth. Over the years, our dentists have also become more adept at placing composite resin fillings and shaping the teeth to create beautiful restorations.

Composite Fillings vs. Amalgam Fillings

Many patients wonder whether they should opt for traditional silver amalgam fillings or opt for the tooth colored variety. However, composite resin fillings offer several big advantages over amalgam fillings. Here are just a few reasons you should consider choosing composite resin fillings.

Beautiful Repairs

Composite resin repairs don’t just repair your teeth, they can also be used to beautify your teeth. In addition to filling cavities, composite resin material can also be used to repair chips, fill gaps, and even lengthen the teeth. These repairs allow dentists to offer full smile makeovers—without more expensive restoration procedures.

Preserve More Of Your Natural Tooth

Most people don’t realize it, but traditional amalgam fillings were designed to nestle into teeth instead of bonding to the teeth. To create the filling, dentists had to create “undercuts” into the tooth to allow the filling to stay put. However, composite resin material is designed to meld with dental enamel, which means dentists can preserve more of your natural tooth.

Instant Curing

After composite resins are placed, they are cured instantly with special lights, allowing patients to enjoy normal eating and drinking after the procedure. However, some fillings don’t completely harden for days, putting the restoration at risk.

Easy to Fix

Composite resin fillings can also be repaired easily if they break. Also, since resins can be matched to other resins and placed over existing materials, repairs are much easier for patients and dentists alike.

Completed In One Visit

Lastly, composite resin fillings can be completely placed in one dental visit, as opposed to some other restorations which may take two visits. For example, if you are having an inlay installed, your dentist may require two separate appointments to place the final restoration.

No Heavy Metals

Some patients have concerns about using traditional amalgam fillings because they contain trace amounts of mercury. However, composite fillings don’t contain any heavy metals and have been shown to be completely safe.


Modern composites have been shown to have an impressive lifespan, lasting nearly as long as amalgam fillings. In fact, most composites can last as long as 11 years with proper maintenance.

Receiving a Composite Resin Filling

Receiving a composite resin filling starts much like any other cosmetic dentistry procedure. Before the dentist begins, they will carefully evaluate your smile to create a treatment plan. Next, the teeth are cleaned and polished to remove bacteria and to create a safe place to do dental work.

To keep you comfortable, your teeth and gums will be numbed with a strong local anesthetic. After you are numb, the dentist will use a small handheld drill to remove decay from the affected tooth. Next, the area will be cleaned, rinsed, and sanitized to pave the way for the restoration. To improve adhesion between the composite and your tooth, a gel called “etch” will be applied to the tooth. This solution microscopically roughens the area to help the bonding agent to adhere to enamel.

After the solution has done its job, it is rinsed off the tooth, and the dentist chooses the right shade of composite resin for the repair. The dentist slowly pipes the resin into place, forms it, and then cures it with a UV light. After the material has hardened, the tooth is cleaned and polished.

Schedule Your Appointment

If you have visible cavities, call Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale at (914) 725-7100 today to schedule a consultation. With a wide variety of services and all of the latest dental technologies, their team can make your teeth look as good as new.


Modern composites have been shown to have an impressive lifespan, lasting nearly as long as amalgam fillings. In fact, most composite fillings can last as long as 11 years with proper maintenance. As far as special care goes, fillings can, for the most part, be treated like the natural surface of your teeth. This means brushing and flossing every day, as well as attending regularly scheduled checkup with your dentist. You may however, experience some sensitivity in the period immediately following your appointment. Use over the counter pain medication to help reduce discomfort, and avoid hot and cold foods, as well as those that are chewy, hard, or sticky. As always, contact your Scarsdale dental expert if you experience any issues.

The cost of composite fillings varies depending on the size and location of the cavity, as well as the dental practice’s fees. Generally, composite fillings tend to be slightly more expensive than amalgam fillings due to the materials used and the technique required for placement. However, many dental insurance plans cover a portion of the cost of composite fillings, especially when used on front teeth or in areas where aesthetics are a concern. On average, patients might expect the cost to range from $150 to $400 per tooth, but it’s best to consult with your dentist for an accurate estimate based on your specific needs.

While composite fillings are safe and effective for most patients, as with any dental procedure, there are potential risks and complications. These may include:

  • Sensitivity: Some patients experience sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures after getting a composite filling. This sensitivity usually decreases over time.
  • Chipping: Composite materials can sometimes chip off the tooth, especially if placed on the biting edges of teeth.
  • Wear: Although modern composites are durable, they may wear down over time, especially in areas of heavy biting pressure.
  • Staining: Composite fillings can stain over time due to coffee, tea, wine, or tobacco use. However, they can be polished during regular dental visits to restore their appearance.
  • Allergic Reactions: Though rare, some people may have allergic reactions to the materials used in composite resins.

It’s important to discuss these potential risks with your dentist to understand how they apply to your specific situation. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene can help minimize these risks and extend the life of your composite fillings.