If you’ve ever had dental fillings, you might be asking yourself, “How long do fillings last?”
There’s no one answer that can tell you how long dental fillings last since there are many factors to consider, including the type of filling you receive, how damaged your tooth was, and your overall oral health habits. For the most part, your filling should last between 5 and 10 years. In some cases, they can even last for up to 20 years!
It is likely that you may have to replace a filling at some point. If this is the case, your dentist may look at replacing it with a different material. To determine how long your filling will last, let’s look at some details.
What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings are durable materials placed into the tooth cavity to strengthen the tooth structure and restore it to its original shape and function. They are primarily used to fill cavities and prevent further tooth decay. To fill a cavity, a dentist will thoroughly clean out the decayed area of your tooth and add the filling.
Proper dental hygiene and regular appointments are crucial to avoiding cavities. However, sometimes we still find a cavity. Dental fillings help restore the tooth and help protect your tooth for a long time.
So, how long do fillings last?
Several factors affect how long a dental filling will last. Some of these include:
- The type of filling
- The location of the filling
- The severity of the cavity
- The technique used by the dentist
Your dentist will recommend the best filling material for your dental needs. If you currently have fillings, it may be time to have them looked at to ensure they are not damaged or too worn down.
Types of Fillings
Dentists use many different filling materials to repair your tooth’s structure. Some materials are better for back teeth, and some are better for front teeth. Your dentist will consider the look and durability of the material when deciding which type will work best for you.
Advantages: Gold fillings last longer than most other types of fillings—up to 30 years, in some cases. They are very durable. Eventually, they will wear down, but they withstand bite forces more than other options. Many patients find gold more tolerable than silver fillings.
Disadvantages: Gold fillings cannot be placed next to silver amalgam fillings because they will create a galvanic shock that can cause patients sharp pain. Gold fillings also cost more than other types of fillings.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings have been used for over a century to restore teeth. They are made from metals, including mercury, tin, silver, copper, and zinc.
Advantages: A silver amalgam filling can last 10 to 15 years, and they are not as expensive as other fillings. They are also very durable.
Disadvantages: These fillings are mercury-based, and some patients may be hypersensitive to mercury. They can expand and contract in the presence of hot or cold foods or drinks which can cause the tooth to crack, which can be painful. Silver fillings can also cause surrounding teeth to become discolored and grey-looking. The filling may require more of the natural tooth to be removed to place the filling.
Composite fillings are made from a combination of acrylic resin and glass particles. They repair holes in the front teeth, and composite fillings blend in with the surrounding teeth.
Advantages: Composite fillings are durable and can last up to ten years, but on average, they are replaced around five years. Composite resin can repair front teeth and blend in with surrounding teeth. Unlike gold or silver fillings, composite fillings are made to match the color of the patient’s natural teeth. Many patients who had silver fillings before can replace them with a tooth-colored filling for their seamless aesthetics. Only a small amount of the enamel needs to be removed for the resin to bond correctly.
Disadvantages: Composition fillings take more time to place than traditional fillings because they need to be placed in several steps. Compared to a silver or gold filling, the composite filling will fade over time and is prone to staining. They are also not as durable as other options, and these dental fillings only last about five years. They are also more expensive than silver fillings.
These fillings are made of porcelain and painted with different shades to match the color of your teeth. Porcelain fillings are solid and can last as long as other metal fillings—10 to 15 years, on average. They are very durable and cost about the same as gold fillings in most cases.
Advantages: Ceramic fillings blend in with the teeth. These dental fillings last a long time and are strong and durable.
Disadvantages: Because ceramic fillings are so strong, they can be more uncomfortable than other types of fillings. They also cost about the same as gold fillings.
How often do fillings need to be replaced?
After some time, the strength of each material begins to fade, and you may need to have them replaced. Fillings will need to be replaced when they become too worn down or show signs of cracks or breaks. Normal wear and tear will happen with each type of filling as they are still not as strong as enamel. However, as long as your surrounding tooth remains healthy, the fillings can last a very long time.
Contact our dental experts if you require filling repairs or replacement. It is essential to have your dentist check your restorations at every visit to ensure they are not damaged.
How to Make Your Fillings Last
You want to make sure your fillings last as long as possible. Taking proper care of your teeth seeing your dentist regularly can make a world of difference and ensure your fillings last longer.
It is essential to brush and floss your teeth daily to remove plaque and bacteria that can cause decay in your teeth. If you use dental floss or devices, you should take care to use them gently. When flossing, ensure that you use a clean section of the dental floss for each tooth to avoid bacterial transfer. Do not use the same strand of floss for all your teeth at once.
Whenever possible, eat food that is soft to avoid damaging your teeth. It is also recommended only to eat small portions when you can. If your food needs to be cut into small pieces, it is recommended to use a fork instead of your teeth.
Contact Raleigh Dental Loft for Your Filling Needs Today!
Your oral health is our priority, and we want you to have a healthy smile that is free from cavities or tooth decay. If you have fillings that need to be replaced, contact our dental team at Raleigh Dental Loft right away, and we’ll get you taken care of!