uptime-check What is a Composite Filling? - Dr. William LanzaDr. William Lanza

Contact the Office

Phone: (301) 654-7808
Fax: (301) 654-3177

Office Location

4330 East-West Hwy
#316 Bethesda, MD 20814

Contact the Office

Monday – Thursday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Friday – By Appointment Only
24 Hour Emergency
Dental Services Available

What is a Composite Filling?

A guide to figuring out the best fit for your dental needs

Cavities…ugh. Even if you have good oral hygiene, you might find yourself already feeling nervous about your next dental visit.  Will you have to get a filling? Will it be a painful procedure?

The Dental Institute wants you to know that composite fillings are surprisingly easy compared to other types of fillings. What is a composite filling? Read on to learn more about how composite fillings could change your dental care.

Different types of fillings

There are a few different types of material that are commonly used for dental fillings. In the past, dentists have used gold, porcelain, or a silver mix. These days dentists are using composite fillings more and more. A composite filling is resin-based and is easy to match to your tooth color.

Resin is also a material that is moldable to the shape of your tooth. This means you often can’t tell they are even there. For someone who needs a cavity filled but doesn’t want a mouth full of shiny fillings, this is a great option. But how does it work?

What is the purpose of a composite filling?

A composite filling is most often made out of a material called resin. It is safe to use and can change the way you feel about having to get fillings. For example, you might be a person who feels worried about what your smile will look like with fillings. With a composite filling, it’s hard to tell it’s even there!

This can be an especially great option if you need work done on your front teeth. The front teeth are more visible than the back teeth. Because of this, you might not want to have an obvious metal filling there. A composite filling would help to keep the integrity of your smile by matching the filling material to the color of your tooth.

How long do composite fillings last?

Like other factors, this will depend on the extent of your dental care and your overall dental needs. Generally, composite fillings are typically lasting about  7-10 years. They are durable, but this lifespan can be a little shorter than the lifespan of a metal filling. Additionally,  if you are a person that is more prone to cavities, composite fillings might not last quite as long.

Is a composite filling better?

Is it better? If you have fillings or are experiencing a cavity for the first time and need to get it filled, this is something you should consider. A composite filling can help to remedy tooth decay without being noticeable or taking away from your smile.

Another plus, a composite filling can help to prevent further tooth decay from happening. The fact is, only you can answer this question for yourself.

Like anything else, there are both benefits and drawbacks to composite fillings. According to Healthline, here are some of the pros and cons of choosing a composite filling instead of another material:


  • Resin –the material used to make a composite filling–is fairly durable 
  • This material is matchable to your tooth color so it’s not very noticeable
  • It can easily fix tooth decay that is small or larger in size
  • It is less likely to crack or fracture
  • This procedure is pretty simple and can usually be finished in one visit

As with most things in life, where there are pros, there are also some cons. It’s important to understand both sides of a product in order to make the right decision for you:


  • Generally a little more costly than a more traditional silver filling
  • Takes a bit longer because it has to be applied in layers
  • Doesn’t last quite as long as a metal filling might 

Depending on your personal situation and how you might weigh each of the benefits and drawbacks, composite fillings just might be a good choice for you!

What is the procedure like?

traightforward. So much so that it can usually be done in one visit. Here is a summary of what you might experience when getting a composite feeling here at The Dental Institute: 

  1. First, we will choose a color for the composite filling to match your tooth color. 
  2. After that, you will most likely need a local numbing agent for the area we will be filling.
  3. The dentist will remove the decay in your tooth 
  4. Next the dentist will prepare the tooth for the composite filling 
  5. Then the dentist will layer the composite material into the hole in your tooth. This step takes some time because each layer has to be dried before the next can be applied. 
  6. Finally, your tooth will be shaped and contoured–this means you will barely be able to see the filling! At the end your dentist will check to make sure that it feels OK when you bite down.

So…are composite fillings the right choice for you?

We know you think carefully about who your dental care provider should be (we are a great choice if you are in the Bethesda or Silver Spring area)! You also want to be thoughtful about what type of fillings you want to have in your mouth. Here are the takeaways about why composite fillings could be the right choice for you.

Composite fillings are the right choice if you:

  • Are looking for a filling that won’t be noticeable–especially for front teeth!
  • Want a quick and simple one-visit procedure
  • Have some cavities or tooth decay but don’t have complicated dental needs

At The Dental Institute, We can’t wait to help you take care of your teeth at your next dental visit. Book an appointment today to see how we can serve your smile!