Comparison of Dental Fillings: GIC vs. Composite Fillings

Composite Fillings

Comparison of Dental Fillings: GIC vs. Composite Fillings

Composite fillings : When you have cavity or decay in tooth, you need dental fillings. There are two popular options are Glass Ionomer Cement (GIC) and Composite Resin.

These dental materials are used to restore decayed or damaged teeth and improve oral health. Let’s see how these type of fillings compare on various parameters

What are GIC and Composite Fillings?

GIC: Glass Ionomer Cement is a dental material made of glass powder and organic acid. It releases fluoride, which can help prevent further decay. GIC is often used for small to medium-sized restorations and non-load-bearing areas.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings are a mixture of plastic (acrylic) and fine glass particles mixed with resin. They are tooth-colored, making them an ideal choice for visible tooth restorations. Composite fillings are versatile and suitable for both front and back teeth, ranging from small to large restorations.

Comparing GIC and Composite Fillings


GIC: GIC has a translucent appearance, but it may not perfectly match the natural tooth color, making it less esthetically pleasing.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings offer excellent esthetics since they can be color and shade matched to the surrounding teeth, resulting in a seamless and natural look. Their superior aesthetics make them highly popular for visible tooth restorations.


GIC: GIC is reasonably durable, but it may not last as long as Composite Resin fillings, especially for larger restorations subjected to chewing forces. Its moderate durability makes it more suitable for smaller restorations and areas with minimal stress.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings are highly durable and can withstand the pressures of regular chewing. Their robust nature makes them ideal for both front and back teeth and provides longer-lasting restorations.

Tooth Preservation:

GIC: Glass Ionomer Cement bonds well to the tooth structure, offering good support and potentially reducing the risk of fractures. Its bonding properties help in preserving the tooth’s integrity.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings require minimal removal of healthy tooth structure, making them a conservative choice that preserves more of the natural tooth. This tooth-preserving characteristic ensures a more conservative restoration process.

Cavity Size:

GIC: GIC is suitable for small to medium-sized cavities, particularly in areas with low chewing pressure. Its compatibility with non-load-bearing areas makes it a preferred choice for root caries and small restorations.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings are versatile and can be used for small to large cavities in both front and back teeth, even in high-stress areas. Their adaptability suits a wide range of cavity sizes, offering a comprehensive solution for various dental restorations.

Bonding Strength:

GIC: Glass Ionomer Cement forms a strong and chemically bonded seal to the tooth structure, minimizing the risk of leakage and further decay. Its reliable bonding prevents secondary caries.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings create a secure mechanical bond with the tooth, providing reliable adhesion and stability. This robust bonding ensures a long-lasting restoration with minimal chances of filling failure.


GIC: Some patients may experience sensitivity after GIC fillings due to its fluoride release. Though sensitivity is a possibility, it is usually temporary and improves over time.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings typically have a low sensitivity risk and are well-tolerated by most individuals. Their low sensitivity makes them a favorable choice for patients with sensitivity concerns.

Toxicity and Biocompatibility:

GIC: Glass Ionomer Cement is generally safe and has good biocompatibility with the oral tissues. Its non-toxic nature makes it suitable for various dental applications.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings are also considered safe and well-tolerated by the body. Their biocompatibility ensures minimal risk of adverse reactions, making them a safe option for dental restorations.


GIC: GIC fillings are more economical, making them a cost-effective option for dental restorations. Their affordability is beneficial for patients seeking budget-friendly treatments.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings are moderately expensive due to their superior aesthetics and durability. While they may be more costly, their long-lasting and visually appealing results make them a valuable investment.

Placement Time:

GIC: GIC fillings can be placed relatively quickly and easily. The straightforward procedure makes it convenient for patients who prefer shorter dental appointments.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings may require more time for meticulous layering and curing. The detailed placement process ensures precise results, contributing to their excellent aesthetics and durability.

Resistance to Wear:

GIC: GIC may wear down over time, especially in areas with heavy chewing forces. While durable, its wear resistance may vary depending on the specific case.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings are highly resistant to wear and can maintain their structure under regular chewing. Their ability to withstand occlusal forces contributes to their longevity.

Long-Term Staining:

GIC: GIC is more prone to staining and may discolor over time. This characteristic may affect the aesthetics of the filling and surrounding teeth.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings are resistant to staining, preserving their color and appearance. Their ability to resist staining ensures long-term aesthetic appeal.


GIC: GIC can adapt to the cavity shape but may not provide an ideal seal in all cases. While adaptable, its sealing capabilities may not be as comprehensive.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings have excellent adaptability and conform well to the cavity, ensuring a tight and precise seal. Their adaptability results in reliable restorations.


GIC: GIC fillings can be easily repaired if damaged, without replacing the entire filling. This ease of repair makes it a convenient option for addressing minor issues.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings are also repairable, allowing for targeted fixes when necessary. The repairability ensures longevity and cost-effectiveness in case of damage.

Contraction and Expansion:

GIC: GIC exhibits minimal contraction and expansion properties, reducing the risk of leakage and secondary decay. Its stability over time contributes to its reliability.

Composite Resin: Composite fillings also show minimal contraction and expansion, further enhancing their sealing properties. The limited contraction and expansion reduce the chance of filling failure.

Finally, both Glass Ionomer Cement (GIC) and Composite fillings have certain advantages that cater to different dental needs.

GIC is a cost-effective option, beneficial for small restorations and non-load-bearing areas, with the added benefit of fluoride release.

On the other hand, Composite Resin fillings excel in aesthetics, durability, and adaptability, making them ideal for a wide range of cavity sizes and visible tooth restorations.

The choice between GIC and Composite Resin fillings will depend on individual dental requirements, and should be determined by your dentist.

Cost of Composite Fillings

Cost of GIC Fillings

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