Composite fillings to repair tooth cavities

Tooth decay is common. In fact, it is the second most common disorder after the common cold. At Dhir Dentistry in San Diego, California, we recognize that it does not have to be this way. While prevalent, decay is also highly preventable. We partner closely with individuals and their families to prevent this destructive process. And, when necessary, Dr. Sanjay Dhir may recommend conservative restorations such as composite fillings to resolve decay and preserve a maximum amount of the natural tooth structure. 


As their name suggests, fillings are a straightforward and popular way to “fill in” cavities or holes caused by the destructive enamel erosion and decay process. Dental materials are shaped to precisely fit the cavities and, in turn, to build up teeth whose integrity is threatened by the loss of tooth structure due to decay. These materials include metals, such as amalgam made from silver, zinc, copper; gold; and non-metals like composite resin and dental ceramics. 

Composite is a popular filling material. Our patients appreciate that it can be perfectly color-matched to blend in with the rest of the tooth and the surrounding teeth in the smile. Additionally, since the composite is a mix of plastic and glass particles, it is appropriate for patients with sensitivities to metals. Our patients also appreciate that the techniques used to prepare and place composite fillings are conservative and require minor alteration of the natural tooth. The less we can alter the tooth, the more realistic the restored tooth will look, feel, and function.

The process

To prepare the tooth, we will first ensure you don’t feel anything throughout treatment by administering a precise anesthetic. If you are nervous about treatment, we can discuss other ways to keep you relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. Then, we use specialized tools and techniques to remove decayed or damaged tissues. The natural tooth is also shaped to accept the filling. The resin itself is directly bonded or fixed securely into place to the prepared tooth structure. Unlike metal amalgam fillings, portions of the tooth do not need to be drilled away to accommodate the composite. Once the filling is perfectly placed and secured, minor refinements may be made, and the tooth is polished to let its natural-looking beauty shine through. 

Treated teeth can last a lifetime with good oral hygiene at home and with regular visits to our practice for dental exams and professional cleanings by our hygienists. Please do not wait for problems to arise with a tooth to contact us, though. You can avoid many oral conditions with preventive rather than restorative dentistry. Call us at (858) 358-5801 to schedule your appointment.



They can be perfectly color-matched with the rest of the tooth and the surrounding teeth. Composite is a mix of plastic and glass particles and suits patients with metal sensitivity. The techniques used in preparing these fillings are also conservative and require only minor alterations of the tooth, making the result look more realistic.


Composite fillings harden quickly, so you can start eating and drinking right away. However, you might find that chewing food is a little tricky due to the pain and swelling around the treated tooth. That’s why we normally advise patients to wait at least two hours before they resume eating and drinking after getting composite fillings.


Dr. Dhir may advise you to eat soft foods, like soups, porridge, eggs, and crackers, for 24-48 hours after getting your fillings. Try to avoid hard foods as much as possible during this period.


Fillings are also made of metals, like amalgam that combines silver, mercury, zinc, and copper; gold; and non-metals like ceramics.


Many people prefer replacing old metal fillings with composites for aesthetic reasons. If your old fillings, especially dental amalgam, are leaking or cracked, you should definitely have them replaced.