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Composite or Tooth Colored Filling – Conservative and Cool!

April 7, 2016

Composite or Tooth Colored Filling – Conservative and Cool!

A composite or tooth colored filling may be just what you need to improve your smile!   Sure, they do not last as long as a porcelain restoration and they do have limitations but the goal of this blog is to show a conservative approach to improving a smile and let you know what the potential benefits and complications are when a composite or tooth colored filling or restoration is placed.  Our office loves giving our patients options about their dental treatment so that they can pick the solution that is best for them at that time!

Existing composite or tooth colored filling (restoration) is very stained and the overall color of the teeth is very dark.

Existing composite or tooth colored filling on the front tooth  is stained and rough and the overall color of the teeth is very dark.

In the photos here, a composite or tooth colored filling was used to replace the existing stained restoration on the front tooth.  The patient also wanted an overall brighter tooth shade.

Treatment options for this patient would be as follows:

  • Bleach teeth
  • Gum surgery or plastic surgery of the gums to even the gumline for the central incisors
  • Option of treating both central incisors to create central that were even in size.  (You will note that the left central incisor seems narrower than the right central)
  • Two weeks or more after bleaching is completed, a composite or tooth colored filling (also colled a restoration) or porcelain veneer(s) can be completed to improve the appearance of the teeth.

What the patient selected based on his goals:

  • Bleaching with our custom trays.
  • No gum surgery as not concerned about the discrepancy in height of the front teeth.
  • Composite or tooth colored filling to replace his existing stained one.


  • More conservative than a porcelain veneer and certainly more conservative than two porcelain veneers
  • Instant improvement
  • Smooth and comfortable
  • No anesthetic required for bonding in this area (usually).
  • Lower cost


  • Gum surgery would have made the teeth look more even in length and would have added minimal additional cost however this was not a concern for this patient.
  • One central is wider than the other.
  • Over time the composite or tooth colored filling will stain and will need to be replaced.  In our office, we guarantee restorations like this one for two years however depending on the patient’s habits and care, this restoration may last much longer.
  • Composites or tooth colored fillings (restorations) are not as durable as porcelain and the patient will have to be very careful what he bites into or habits like clenching grinding or chewing on things (pens, fingernails etc.)
  • Increased cost.

Please call our office if you have questions about these types of restorations or to see if a composite or tooth colored filling would work for you.  We would love to see you!

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Composite or tooth colored filling replacing the existing stained restoration on the front tooth.

Composite or tooth colored filling replacing the existing stained restoration (filling) on the front tooth

The Time For Amalgam or Silver/Mercury Amalgam Fillings is Past!

October 14, 2013

Tooth-Colored Fillings – Forget Silver/Mercury Amalgam Fillings!

Tooth colored fillings  also known as composite fillings are not new! They are better looking, better for your tooth, more conservative and tooth-colored fillings have stood the test of time for small restorations due to decay or fracture.

If your tooth needs a filling, there are still dentists that recommend silver fillings or amalgam fillings instead of tooth-colored or composite fillings. Silver amalgam fillings are about 50 percent mercury and EVERYONE knows that this material is toxic.  Never mind that the mercury is bound to the silver in the silver filling and MAY not pose a health hazard.  If there is a better choice of filling material that is safer AND better for your tooth wouldn’t you choose it?

It is common to see breakdown of the tooth around old silver fillings.

Cracks and rough edges around this filling indicate bacteria can get below and beside this amalgam. Time to replace it with something better!

In our office we used to place silver or amalgam fillings – that was until about 1995 when I decided that I wouldn’t put in a patient’s mouth something that I would not want in my own or my families teeth!  So, I stopped doing silver fillings altogether and I have never regretted this decision.  Like all metals, silver fillings expand and contract with hot and cold conditions in our mouth.  Over time this can weaken or fracture the surrounding tooth structure. Tooth-colored fillings by contrast, actually bond to the adjacent tooth strengthening it, AND they look like teeth not a black filling!

If you want to replace your old silver or amalgam fillings, or if you need to get new fillings altogether, our restorative dentistry office has natural-looking porcelain and tooth-colored filling or composite filling materials available. These fillings can be created to match your existing tooth color, disguising your dental work from your friends and family. If you wanted to brighten your smile with our available teeth whitening procedures, talk to Dr. Gillis prior to receiving a natural-colored filling so that your new restorations will match your brighter tooth color.

Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Please visit us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc) or call us if you have any questions or concerns.  You can also email our office at jgillis@juliegillisdds.com for further information.

Yours for better health,

Julie Gillis, DDS,

“Restoring Smiles – Restoring Health”



Can Stains Be Polished From Tooth Colored Dental Fillings?

May 9, 2013

Do I have to have a new filling or can this one be polished?

Many times teeth and tooth colored fillings become stained from different foods and beverages. It is the nature of tooth colored dental fillings – sometimes called white fillings or composite restorations –  that they will discolor and stain as they age.  Over time the edges of dental restorations or fillings may become more noticeable and rougher.  Roughness attracts bacteria and food particles which increases the likelihood of the area becoming stained over time.  The stains really show up on tooth colored fillings, but this happens with silver amalgam fillings as well.  You just notice the discoloration more with the tooth colored fillings.  What was once a filling that matched the surrounding tooth structure, is now dark and noticeable.  If the stain is on a front tooth and in the ‘smile zone’ it detracts from your nice smile and often looks like tooth decay.

Note the round stained filling on this patient's front tooth

If you notice staining around your fillings it is best to have your teeth and fillings or restorations evaluated by a dentist. Your tooth may actually be decayed and the tooth colored filling will need to be replaced.  Sometimes however, it may be possible to polish some of the stain away and this will also make the tooth colored filling last longer!  Tooth whitening treatments or tooth bleaching can be used to lighten the color of tooth enamel, but bleaching will not change the color or your tooth colored fillings or crowns.  In the case of white fillings that have stained, the solution your dentist is likely to offer is to replace them. Looking close at these photos you may also notice stained fillings between the teeth.

Close up of stained restoration on front tooth.

In our office, we try to be conservative with dental treatment when this is appropriate.  If there is no active decay present below the tooth colored filling we will often offer to polish these areas for our patients to help the restoration last longer.

The same restoration after polishing looks much better!


We love to give our patient’s information and options about their dental treatment – cosmetic or otherwise!

Dr. Gillis has advanced training in cosmetic dentistry and is an Accredited Dentist with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Our office is dedicated to helping you save your teeth and helping you to maintain a healthy mouth.  We would be happy to answer your questions about your fillings, smile, porcelain veneers, cosmetic dentistry, options for your treatment and your dental health! Please visit us on Facebook (see Julie M Gillis DDS PC) or call us (970) 242-3635 if you have any questions or concerns.  You can also email our office at jgillis@juliegillisdds.com for further information. Our office website is www.juliegillisdds.com.


Yours for better health,

Julie Gillis, DDS,

“Restoring Smiles – Restoring Health”