How a Chipped Tooth Can Be Repaired With a White Composite Filling

How a Chipped Tooth Can Be Repaired With a White Composite Filling

Chipped Tooth Fixed Filling

Breaking one of your front teeth is something that nobody wants to go through, but unfortunately it is a common occurrence.  Luckily, modern dentistry is able to make these teeth look normal after a tooth fracture has occurred.  Chipped teeth can be repaired with crowns, veneers, and ordinary white composite fillings.

Today in my pre-clinical lab, we fractured a tooth on purpose and then repaired it.  I took some pictures of the finished result so you can see how it looks.  My professor had us mount some natural teeth in a yellow plaster.  When we got to the lab, he had us cut a few millimeters of tooth structure off of an incisor to simulate a front tooth that had been chipped.  Front teeth can be chipped when someone trips and hits their mouth on a hard object, during fights, or for many other reasons.

I worked on the middle tooth in the photos below.

Composite Filling Dry
Above is the finished tooth in the middle. When it’s dry, it’s easy to see the difference between the filling and the natural tooth. In the bottom photo, I drew a red line showing where the natural tooth ends and the filling begins.

In the bottom photo, you can see a red line.  Everything below that red line is the composite filling, and everything above it is natural tooth structure.

In both of these photos, the tooth is dry, so it is easier to differentiate between the white filling and the natural tooth structure.  The composite filling is also easier to differentiate in this example because we only have a couple of shades of composite available to us in the pre-clinic lab.

I took a second photo of the filling after getting the teeth wet.  This better simulates the real world since our teeth live in a very wet environment in the mouth.

Class IV Composite Filling Wet
Here is the finished tooth. I put some water on it to simulate saliva. When the filling is wet (as it is in the mouth), it appears more aesthetically pleasing.

You will notice that it is a lot harder to see the difference between the natural tooth structure and the composite filling when the tooth is wet.

When you compare it to the tooth on the right, you can see that the colors match pretty well; it is more yellow at the top, and gets whiter as you go down the tooth.

If I’d have used the right shade of composite (and if I had a few more years of experience!), it would be nearly impossible for the untrained eye to detect the difference between the composite filling and the natural tooth structure.

Have you ever chipped a tooth?  Did you get it repaired?  If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below in the comments section below.


  1. I had my tooth chipped when I was 10 years old. Im almost 20 now, and the filling the dentist used was a yellow colour, is their any way i can make this filling colour white?

    • Hi Neal, over time the “tooth colored” composite fillings can stain and wear down, giving them an unpleasing appearance. Most any dentist will be able to replace the old filling with a new aesthetically pleasing composite filling. Some dentists may be more comfortable with this procedure than others so you may want to go to someone who markets their practice towards cosmetic dentistry. If you are really concerned about the final appearance, ask the dentist if you can see some before and after pictures of previous patients that they have worked on.

      Thanks for the comment! By the way, the average composite filling usually lasts about six years. Here’s an article I wrote about that:

  2. About two months I chipped my tooth and had it filled in. I understand that it’s sensitive to cold liquids. I haven’t been drinking anything cold recently but my tooth has had this irritating pain for a day straight and I don’t know why . It feels like the same pain I get when I drink something cold . What could it be

  3. Hi. My 10 year old got her front tooth chipped on the playground from another child. She got a filling at our dentist and she has been real carefull what she eats but somehow the filling came out about a year later. Our insurance won’t cover for a filling in the same tooth again so the dentist says we would have to pall all of it. Is my daughters fault or did they not do a good job putting the filling in? any advice would be helpfull!

  4. My son was 2 years and 3 months old he chipped his tooth while running at the mall.. i was so scared because when i saw his front tooth it was horribly chipped as in half of the tooth was chipped and it was bleeding too.. what would the dentist do to repair my son’s tooth? will they use white composite fillings to make the chipped tooth whole again…

  5. Hi doctor
    I had a Very small cavity on my anyerior teeth and ha it filled a few yesrs ago.
    Over the years it got yellow and i re did it .
    When i made my last visit to the doc she re filled it bt the shade didnt match.due to my frustration i went to another dentist and she ruined my teeth. She opened up the filling made my teeth look bigger and added lots of composite filling close to my gums at the back of my teeth. The center line even changed. I went back to the old dentist she tried to reshape the tooth to bring it back to the earlier shape bt my tooth are now rounded and look like they r chipped. My front teeth feel weird and i want my old look back. What is my best option? I have a beautiful smile and have made a huge mistake will my teeth ever feel and look the same . I dont want vineers or a cap just a regular composite to het back my original tooth. I am currently away from my country and will have to wait a nonth to feel comfortable in mu mouth again since i go hime in dec. pls advice me i am steessed. Tjank u

  6. Hi Tom. I chipped a back tooth (last molar bottom jaw left side) & it was repaired with a composite filling about a year ago. It fell out yesterday! I’m annoyed & just want your take on how to approach my dentist because surely I shouldn’t have to pay again?

  7. Hello Doctor,

    On August 13, 2015 I went to my dentist to get my 2 front bottom teeth repaired, as they were both slightly chipped off the top. My dentist suggested that I should just get them filed instead of the composite filling. The reason stated was that “they will fall off.” Instead of walking around with 2 short front teeth, I requested for the composite, thinking to myself and out loud, “well, I’ll be back again in 1 or 2 years when it falls off.” The composite fillings were put in by 2:30 p.m. and fell off at around 8:00 p.m., that same night!! I did not try to crunch the shell of the Macadamia Nut to test the (shabby) workmanship of my dentist! What do you think?

  8. My dentist actually chipped my front tooth when filling a very small cavity in back of it. He reluctantly fixed it by putting the filler on it. Mine lasted a week, both times he did it. He never did make it right & I look like a hillbilly & not a damn thing I can do about it as I can’t afford a crown or veneer. If I had chipped the tooth myself I would be less pissed off but to have a dentist, who makes a lot of money, ruin my tooth & then not fix it, that is really irritating.

  9. Thanks for sharing! It’s so interesting to see the outcome of the repaired tooth. I think you did a great job! I have a small chip in one of my front teeth. You can’t really tell unless you’re close to me, but I definitely notice how sharp the jagged edge is. I have been debating on whether or not to have it fixed, but it sounds like I have more than just one option.

  10. I had my back bottom left molar chip on the side next to my tongue. It was such a sharp edge, my tongue would get cut on it and I spoke with a slight lisp. It hurt so much! My dentist put a filling on the side to ease the pain and said I’d need a crown. I moved shortly after that, found a new dentist and had to get another filling inside the same tooth. Amalgam this time. He never said anything about having to pull the tooth or replace it. He just filled it with the amalgam, with the composite siding and I’ve had no problems. … Yet.

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