Kirkland Dentistry - Family & Cosmetic Care - A Beaverton/Hillsboro General Dentist

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Composite Bonding & Fillings

The modern, tooth-colored alternative to traditional mercury (silver) fillings.

The Problem:

  • Decay on a portion of any tooth
  • Desire to replace old-fashioned mercury (silver) fillings
  • Desire to maintain a white, beautiful smile

The Solution:

A composite filling is a tooth-colored plastic resin material. After tooth decay is removed, this material is layered into the tooth. Each layer is cured with a high intensity blue light and the final surface is shaped and polished. The final restoration is virtually invisible.


Composite fillings are much more than just attractive. They are environmentally non-toxic because they use no mercury. Composites require less tooth structure removal because they are bonded to the tooth, as opposed to "wedged" in to the tooth as mercury fillings are. As a result of not needing to remove healthy tooth structure (i.e. place "undercuts") and expanding/contracting less than a mercury filling, the tooth is much less likely to fracture. Composites will not stain the tooth dark or corrode as silver fillings do. Since composites use bonding adhesives, they do not leak around the periphery of the filling, which decreases new decay from forming and requiring replacement.


The initial investment in a composite filling is higher than that for a mercury filling. This is due to the fact that the composite material is more expensive and the restoration is more difficult and time consuming to place. However, this initial higher investment is offset in the long run by the health benefits and reduced likelihood of restoring potentially fractured or decayed teeth.


Inlays or onlays are often an excellent alternatives to composite fillings, depending on the size of the cavity and whether the most durable restoration is desired. In cases of extensive decay or loss of healthy tooth structure, onlays or crowns are the only alternative.