Kyle Taylor, DDS

Tranquil Bay Dental

2415 Penny Road Suite 203

High Point, NC 27265


At Deep River Pointe

Composites: Tooth Colored Fillings

Photo of white tooth fillingTooth Colored (Composite) Dental Fillings

“Fillings” are used to repair decayed, cracked, or broken teeth, or teeth that have been worn down by tooth grinding, nail biting, or other causes. They’re called fillings because if you have a cavity, the dentist will remove the portion of the tooth that’s decayed, and then “fill” the area on the tooth with a white (composite) material. Many people still have silver (amalgam) fillings in their teeth—these are less aesthetically pleasing and are being replaced by tooth- colored (composite) dental fillings.

Tooth-colored composite fillings have many advantages, including:

  1. A white filling is almost invisible – your damaged tooth may appear “good as new” following placement of a white tooth filling.
  2. Placement of a white filling will prevent “graying” of a tooth. Silver fillings may “shine through” translucent tooth enamel.
  3. All fillings weaken teeth, but white fillings may be less likely to contribute to tooth cracking over time.  White fillings do not expand, but silver fillings may expand over time.

How Good Are Composite Tooth Fillings?

Years ago, people with composite fillings sometimes experienced issues like post-treatment sensitivity and earlier-than-desired breakdown of the composite at its edges or “margins.” Improvements have been made through the years to almost eliminate these issues, which were associated with dimensional change that occurred when older composite formulations, went from the soft, putty-like consistency to its hardened state. That’s when the dentist exposes the composite to a bright light source from a device that looks like a wand. The good news is that newer nanofills and nano-hybrid composites virtually eliminate any issues with tooth-colored fillings.

pic of chipped tooth that needs dental bondingI have heard of tooth bonding.  What is the difference between bonding and filling?

There is no difference in the technique, although often dentists tend to use the term “bonding” when referring to more aesthetically demanding procedures performed on the front teeth using composite. Depending on the procedure, there could be a slight difference between the formulations of some back teeth versus front teeth composites, as more strength is needed in the back and more smoothness is needed in the front.

I often get sensitivity after getting fillings in my teeth.  Why is that?

If the bite is “off” on any filling (silver or composite) sensitivity will occur within a few days. It also frequently occurs in patients who have been grinding their teeth for weeks, months or longer prior to having the filling(s). Please read the section on Bite Guards on this site.

Other causes for increased sensitivity are with patients who eat or drink a lot of citrus without rinsing immediately afterward, or who expose their teeth to other acidic liquids, like sodas, throughout the day.

Please do not wait longer than a few days to report sensitivity following any fillings: The tooth can be harder to treat if the sensitivity has gone on for long periods of time. And no dentist wants to be “not so fondly remembered” every time a patient has a bite of ice cream or a cold beverage!   Let us help you get back to normal.

If you have a cavity and need to get it filled, please call our gentle dental staff today at 336-884-8989 to discuss your dental needs. We are conveniently located in the High Point, Piedmont, Triad, Deep River area.