Dream Dental Paul H. Kim, DDS

Composite Tooth-Colored Fillings

Composite Tooth-Colored Fillings

Composite fillings allow you to fill your cavities with a natural-looking, tooth-colored material that is composed of powdered glass and plastic resin. Because of their natural appearance, composite fillings are popular for use in teeth that are visible when smiling or speaking, but can also be used in the back teeth because of their ability to withstand the force of chewing. Composite fillings may also commonly be called white, plastic, or tooth-colored fillings.


Did You Know?

The powdered glass and plastic resin materials that make up composite resin are highly versatile and can be used for other dental procedures besides composite fillings. In fact, composite resin is also commonly used for inlays, veneers, and dental crowns. It is also commonly used for dental bonding which can repair chipped, cracked, broken, or improperly spaced teeth.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Are composite fillings right for me?

Composite fillings may be right for you if you have a small to medium cavity that needs to be filled and you are looking to maintain your teeth’s natural appearance. They may also be the best filling option for you if you are prone to allergies or if you have a known metal allergy. To find out for sure if composite fillings are the right treatment for you, schedule a consultation with Dream Dental today!


composite vs. amalgam fillings

Composite vs. Amalgam fillings, what are the pros and cons?

The two most common types of fillings, composite and amalgam, both provide protection against future decay and can successfully be used to fill cavities. However, because they are made from different materials, they both possess their own pros and cons. During your consultation, our dentists will discuss these with you to help you determine what the best course of action is for your individual treatment plan.




  • Highly durable and can withstand extreme force
  • Lasts approximately 10-15 years
  • Can be completed in a single dental visit
  • Low frequency of repair or replacement
  • Highly affordable


  • Metallic appearance
  • Can corrode which causes darkening of the filling and possible staining of the tooth
  • Requires removal of natural tooth structure during placement
  • Can cause the tooth to fracture if the filling is too large
  • Can cause allergic reactions




  • Natural appearance and color matching ability
  • Durable and can withstand most force
  • Completed in a single office visit
  • Does not corrode or stain teeth
  • Preserves the natural tooth structure
  • The bonding process actually strengthens teeth


  • Lasts about 5-7 years
  • More prone to frequent replacement or repair
  • More expensive than amalgam fillings


How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are placed in layers and each layer is hardened with a special curing light. These layers will form the composite filling, which will be shaped and polished to match your tooth. However, before placing the composite filling, any decayed tissue must be removed and the remaining cavity must be completely cleaned of bacteria to avoid further decay. During the decay removal and filling process, your mouth will be numbed for your comfort.


person having a composite filling placed in the dental chair

Do I need to follow specific guidelines after having a composite filling placed?

After having a composite filling placed, you will not have to follow any special guidelines because the filling was hardened during the placement procedure. As such, you will have full function and be able to return to all your previous activities. You may notice some sensitivity in the treated tooth, however this should dissipate within a few days. If the sensitivity continues for more than a week, call our office.


What is the average lifespan of a composite filling?

The average lifespan of a composite filling is around five years. Composite fillings have been known to last longer, however, if they are properly cared for. To extend the lifespan of your composite filling, be sure to maintain excellent oral habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting Dream Dental for your semiannual dental checkups and professional cleanings.


Do composite fillings ever fall out?

Composite fillings, like other fillings, can fall out as they start to wear out. However, this can easily be prevented by attending your regular semi annual dental checkups and Dream Dental. Regular checkups ensure that Dr. Kim can evaluate your composite fillings and identify possible problems before they inconvenience you.


When do composite fillings need to be replaced?

When your composite fillings are nearing the end of their lifespan, you should have them checked by Dr. Kim to make sure their borders are still properly bonded to your tooth. If excessive wear is found, or you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain, then your composite fillings may need to be replaced.


woman smiling in dental chair

How are composite fillings replaced?

Composite fillings are replaced by completely removing the existing filling and then placing a new filling in its place. However composite fillings can also be repaired. When a composite filling is repaired, it can be reshaped or additional composite layers can be placed for strength. Usually, composite fillings on molars tend to be repaired over replaced as an effort to conserve their existing tooth structure.




What is the approximate cost of a composite filling?

The approximate cost of a composite filling is $135-$240 per filling. The exact cost of a composite filling will depend upon its location and size. If you have dental insurance, you may be able to get some type of coverage to offset the cost. However, not all dental insurance companies provide coverage for composite fillings. Also, some companies will only provide coverage if the tooth is visible when smiling or speaking. Dream Dental can help you work with your insurance company to determine your level of coverage.


Dream Dental is committed to providing an exceptional dental experience to patients in Torrance, Palos Verdes, Gardena, and the surrounding South Bay areas. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul H. Kim today!

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