Meaning of Composite

According to, composite is a filling substance used in dentistry that the dentist introduces into the tooth after caries has been removed or due to another defect. A composite filling is also the cheapest alternative to an amalgam seal. In contrast to amalgam, the material is considered biocompatible and aesthetically valuable.

  • Although modern composite fillings only have about 20 percent plastic, they are still referred to as plastic fillings.
  • The color of the composite filling material can be adapted to the natural tooth color.
  • To repair the defect of a tooth with a composite filling, only a single treatment appointment is necessary.
  • Health insurance companies often only cover the full cost of a plastic tooth filling for anterior teeth.

What is composite and what is it made of?

Composites are composite materials that consist of an organic plastic matrix. The material consists of very small glass, ceramic and quartz particles (around 80 percent) and plastic (around 20 percent). This is why the term plastic filling is also used.

What are the advantages of composite?

A composite tooth filling is primarily characterized by its high-quality appearance. In contrast to amalgam , the material color can be adapted to the tooth color so that the filling hardly differs from the natural tooth color. This is a great advantage, especially in the case of defects in the front or incisors. Another advantage of composite is that the dentist can use the appropriate treatment instruments to place very small fillings, which means that less tooth substance has to be removed. In addition, no side effects are known to date that occur with a dental filling made of plastic.

The disadvantages of composite

One of the disadvantages is that a composite tooth filling shrinks somewhat when it hardens, creating a minimal gap between the tooth and the filling. This means that there is a certain risk that a carious spot will form there. It is also more complex to use a plastic filling. For this reason, patients often have to bear part of the costs themselves.

How long does a composite tooth filling last?

Due to its nature, high mechanical loads are not a problem for the composite material. The shelf life depends on the one hand on the size of the filling and on the other hand on the quality of the workmanship. On average, the fillings last for at least five to seven years. This means that they have a shorter lifespan than inlays and amalgam seals. A basic requirement for a long shelf life is proper oral hygiene and regular preventive examinations.

Composite filling: how does the dental treatment work?

The dentist can place a plastic tooth filling directly and without the help of a dental laboratory. First he removes the tooth decay . Often he shields the affected tooth with a rubber dam (a rubber band) so that saliva and blood do not get inside. This procedure is necessary so that the filling will later adhere to the tooth. Now the dentist lines the hole with the still malleable composite filling substance, which he hardens with a special cold light. Then the dentist removes the rubber band and polishes the tooth.

Does the health insurance company cover all of the costs for a plastic filling?

The proportion of the costs that the health insurance company pays depends on both the tariff selected and the position of the dental filling. If the treated area is in the visible front teeth area, the insurance bears the full costs. In the case of pregnant women and children, she often pays for fillings in the posterior region, but sometimes only when using the single-layer technique. In the case of a filling in the molar area, however, the insured must pay extra; depending on the extent of the defect, this is between 30 and 120 euros.

Good dental insurance will reimburse the costs

If you have taken out additional dental insurance , this will cover the costs in full, depending on the tariff. This also applies to fillings in the molars. Additional insurance includes numerous other benefits. The insurance company usually also bears the costs for professional teeth cleaning , prostheses or orthodontic treatment. With the comparison calculator, you can quickly and easily find the provider who best suits your needs.