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

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Composite Fillings

The modern and esthetic alternative to traditional mercury (silver) fillings.

The Problem:

  • Small to moderate 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 quartz-like material. After decay is removed, this resin material is layered into the tooth. Each layer is hardened with a blue light, and the final surface is shaped and polished to match the tooth. The final restoration is virtually invisible.


Composite fillings are more than just attractive. They are environmentally non-toxic because they use no mercury. They are stronger because they bond directly to the surface of the tooth. They protect the tooth from fracturing because they don't require the severe "undercuts" (removal of healthy tooth structure) of a mercury filling.


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 reduced likelihood of needing to restore the tooth again due to fractures or degraded margins.


Inlays or onlays are excellent alternatives to composite fillings and offer increased durability when the cavity is moderate to large. In cases of extensive decay, onlays or crowns are the only alternative.