Dental fillings are a quick and easy way to restore decayed teeth. However, they don’t last forever. So how long do dental fillings last? Well, that depends on a few different factors. Read on to learn about the lifespan of your fillings- and what you can do to keep them healthy.
How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?
Fillings generally last for about a decade. There are a few things you can do to help them last as long as possible. Firstly, your oral hygiene routine makes a big difference. Be sure to brush and floss regularly in order to protect the filling and the surrounding tooth. Wearing a night guard if you grind your teeth can also help to protect your fillings.
The Filling Material Matters
There are a few different materials that can be used to fill a tooth. However, composite is now most common. While amalgam (or metal) fillings used to be the most popular, this material has been replaced as they may contain harmful mercury. Composite fillings don’t last quite as long as metal ones. However, they are much safer for patients and are also a subtle tooth color.
Gold and ceramic fillings are also available. These can last longer than composite fillings, from 15 to 20 years or even longer. However, these fillings are significantly more expensive than composite and may be harder to find. Plus, gold fillings are not tooth-colored. Generally speaking, we recommend composite fillings to most patients.
Replacing Your Fillings
There are two main reasons that people replace dental fillings. Firstly, people with amalgam will want that material replaced to prevent mercury exposure. The second reason is that fillings do break down over time. Your dentist will check your fillings during each of your check-ups. If they notice damage or new tooth decay, then they might suggest a new filling. This process will be similar to your initial filling, so don’t be nervous.
Looking For More Answers?
Still wondering: how long do dental fillings last? The answer will depend on your specific type of filling, plus your overall oral health. At Smile 4 Ever Family Dentistry, we can check your teeth and help you decide when it’s time for new fillings. Call us today to learn more.