How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

Cavities are pretty common, and fillings are an awesome solution to fix them! Almost everyone (like 92% of grown-ups in the US) has had a cavity filled. But fillings, like most things, don’t last forever. This blog post will help you know when it’s time for a new filling to keep your smile healthy and strong.

Types of Dental Fillings

Dental fillings play a very important role in restoring teeth impacted by decay or trauma. However, the longevity of these restorations varies depending on the material used.

These are the common types of dental fillings.

  • Gold
  • Ceramic
  • Silver amalgam
  • Composite resin

Here’s a detailed exploration of the lifespan of different filling materials:

1. Gold Fillings

Cast gold fillings are renowned for their exceptional durability and can last an impressive 20-30 years. Gold’s inherent malleability allows for a precise fit within the cavity, minimizing the risk of future decay and dislodgement.

2. Ceramic Filings

Ceramic or porcelain fillings prioritize aesthetics, offering a near-invisible restoration that seamlessly blends with the surrounding tooth structure. While not quite as durable as gold fillings, ceramic fillings can effectively combat decay for a period of 10-15 years.

The best thing about these fillings is that optimal oral hygiene practices may further extend their lifespan.

3. Silver Amalgam Fillings

Silver amalgam fillings remain a reliable option despite their distinct appearance. Their ability to conform to irregular cavities and form a strong bond with the tooth structure contributes to their lifespan of approximately 15 years, potentially reaching 20 years in certain cases.

4. Composite Resin Fillings

Composite fillings are highly preferred because they can match the natural color of teeth and provide a discreet restoration. Not only that, their placement is often less complex compared to other materials, making them suitable for intricate repairs.

However, their lifespan is generally shorter, averaging around 7-8 years. This vulnerability to wear and tear requires more frequent monitoring and possible replacement.

Can My Diet Affect How Long Fillings Last?

If you want your dental fillings to last, you must adopt a two-pronged approach: maintain proper oral hygiene and make mindful dietary choices.

Sugary treats fuel harmful mouth bacteria, leading to new cavities around and under fillings. Hard foods like candy and nuts cause wear and tear, risking damage to both fillings and natural teeth. Sticky foods like gum and gummy candies can loosen fillings. Coffee and tea can stain composite fillings.

By brushing regularly and limiting sugar drinks, you promote a radiant smile and prolong your fillings’ lifespan.

How Many Times Can You Replace a Filling?

There is no predetermined limit to how many times you can get a filling replaced.

Each time a filling is placed, a bit of tooth needs to be removed to make space. If too many teeth are removed over time, there won’t be enough left to hold a new filling. This means you might need a different kind of fix, like a crown, root canal, or even an implant (which replaced the whole tooth).

The good news is that most people can get fillings replaced multiple times throughout their lives. The key is to catch cavities early because when cavities are small, less tooth needs to be removed for the first filling, making it easier to replace later on.

If you wait too long and the cavity gets bigger, it might be harder to fix the tooth in the future.

The Takeaway

Fillings are like little fixes for your teeth. They can last for many years, but sometimes, they also need a touch-up. If you think your filling might be damaged, don’t wait! Call Waller Dental today at (936) 372-2673 or book an appointment online to get it checked.

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