May St. Dental Centre


This is one of a number of terms used to describe the use of a tooth coloured resin filling material to improve the appearance of teeth. It can be a very conservative and cost-effective way of improving the appearance of chipped, worn and discoloured teeth. Composite resin consists of three components: resin matrix (organic content), fillers (inorganic part) and coupling agents - but we won’t get into the material science here! The material was developed over 50 years ago, and has been widely available for well over three decades. It has evolved into a sophisticated material in it’s bonding processes and versatility.

A description I often give patients is we will put back what the tooth has lost through wear and tear, trauma, or similar. It’s so conservative you could almost call it a reversible procedure. Most of the time I don’t even have to numb a patient up and there is little, or no drilling involved!

As with anything, there are always pros and cons. 


-May only last 4-10 years (but sometimes longer) compared to the average 15 years for porcelain veneers and crowns

-Best suited for smaller changes, not reconstructing a whole tooth (although there are exceptions to this)

-Plaque can stick to it easier than tooth enamel or porcelain, so can sometimes take more effort to clean

-It is a relatively soft material, so if you scrub too much with toothbrush and tooth paste you can wear it down over a long period of time

-Not suitable for correcting the appearance of general crowding

The main advantage as already indicated, is that it’s conservative;

             -If we don’t have to drill a tooth, that’s a good thing.

-Less cost. Where a moderate sized composite resin bonding may cost $100-$400, the equivalent in a porcelain veneer or crown can be $1000- $2000.

-Usually done in one visit (sometimes two).

-Often easily repaired should it chip or break

If you are not sure if you are a good candidate for this, just ask! When discussing these treatments, we usually take photographs so patient and dentist can be sure what areas are of concern. Depending on the case we can often do a simple mock up or trial directly on your teeth to see what the changes may look like before you make a decision.

The process involves a high level of technique to achieve a good aesthetic outcome so requires very good knowledge and experience, which fortunately we have! We endeavour to up date our Smile Gallery regularly to include more examples of this type of treatment.