Medical devices

Compomer – Application & Health Benefits


In dentistry , compomer is used as a filling material to fill cavities (the “hole” in the tooth). Compomers are among the modern plastic fillings and are an alternative to, for example, classic amalgam fillings. They are usually used for minor defects or temporarily.

What is compomer?

Compomers were developed in the mid-1990s to supplement common fillings such as amalgam or cement . Above all, the filler should be an alternative to the plastic resins used at the time, which were not considered to be particularly durable and long-lasting and had compatibility risks.

The name “Kompomer” is a neologism of the first manufacturer and goes back to the composition of the material. Compomers are made from two materials that can also be used individually as filling materials for teeth: KOMPOsit and GlasionoMER cement.

Composite is a mixture of plastic and inorganic substances such as silicic acid or glass particles, glass ionomer cement consists of glass and quartz particles. Composite fillings are considered to be stable and also aesthetic, since they can be adapted to the individual color of the tooth using coloring techniques. Glasinomer cement has a high level of adhesion and bonds with the tooth substance via chemical reactions. In addition, glasinomer cements contain fluoride , which is slowly released into the tooth over the duration of the filling. This prevents the formation of new caries at the edges of the filling and keeps the tooth healthy.

Shapes, Species & Types

Both composite and glasinomer cement have a high level of transparency and are very similar to the tooth color or can be color-matched accordingly. That is why they are often used on the front teeth or other visible areas.

In its combination of both materials, compomer should combine the advantages of composite and glassinomer cement and at the same time compensate for the various disadvantages of these materials. For example, compomers can be processed more quickly and easily on the tooth than composite, which has to be pretreated by the dentist and used with a more complex layering technique. Compomers obtain stability, abrasion resistance and surface hardness from the composites. However, the combination with the glasinomer cement, which is less durable and firm, reduces these good properties somewhat.

Like composite, compomers are not conspicuous due to the possibility of optical adaptation to the tooth substance. Similar to glasinomer cement, they also have good adhesion to the tooth structure without pre-treatment. Compomers also release fluoride to the tooth, but to a lesser extent than glassinomer cement and over a significantly shorter period of a few weeks.

Structure & functionality

In order to fill in compomers, the dentist drills out the diseased tooth substance as gently as possible. Then the tooth is prepared with the so-called adhesive , a light-curing special plastic adhesive. This adhesive is necessary in order to improve the adaptation of the compomer to the tooth structure (due to the composite components, the material does not adhere as well as a glassinomer cement).

The compomer is then filled or layered directly into the prepared cavity using a dosing syringe. The layering technique is somewhat less complicated than with composites. It must be applied to slightly deeper cavities in the tooth to ensure good stability. The material hardens directly in the mouth with a special cold light or with the help of UV light. With the layering technique, each layer must be cured individually.

Compomers may exhibit slight material shrinkage during curing. As a result, there is a risk of a so-called marginal gap formation between the tooth substance and the filling. This can cause tooth decay around the edges of the filling. The dentist must take this into account and correct this when filling, because the fluoride release of the material can only prevent the development of caries to a limited extent. After hardening, the dentist works out the filling according to the anatomical conditions of the tooth. In the last step, the material is smoothed and polished.

Medical & health benefits

Due to the somewhat lower abrasion hardness, compomer fillings are more suitable for smaller fillings without high chewing pressure. The better biocompatibility of the compomers (compared to the mercury load of the amalgam) also proves to be an advantage. Only very rarely do allergies to components of the compomers or the adhesive occur.

Due to the adaptability of the color, compomers are particularly suitable for tooth fillings in the visible area, such as on the tooth neck. However, in contrast to composites, which are also used for this purpose, compomers may absorb water under certain circumstances. This can lead to unsightly marginal discolouration in the front tooth area.

Compomers are also used for temporary fillings, for example to keep a tooth functional after a root canal treatment until it is finally fitted with a tooth (for example with an inlay ).

Statutory health insurance companies cover the costs for compomers for the treatment of anterior tooth defects and for fillings in the tooth neck area. For fillings of milk teeth, the costs are covered proportionately.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.