How Long Do Fillings Last?
The longevity of dental fillings is largely dependent on the type of material utilized. Several materials may be used for this purpose, each providing varying levels of durability.
Regular dental checkups are essential in order to identify when a filling might need to be replaced, as fillings typically do not last for a lifetime.
It is essential to evaluate all available options, whether for new or replacement fillings, in terms of materials and alternatives. Furthermore, it is important to recognize signs of potential tooth decay, as this may indicate the need for a filling.
The typical lifespan of a restoration, or dental filling, is approximately 10 years. However, many have been known to last much longer.
In addition to the materials used, other factors influencing the longevity of a dental filling include:
- Eating habits
- Dental hygiene
- Trauma to your tooth
- Decay around the filling
- Grinding your teeth while you sleep
Various factors play a role in determining the longevity of fillings; however, the materials used can provide an indication of how long a particular filling may last.
Types of Fillings and Their Lifetimes
Your dentist can provide guidance on selecting the most suitable filling material for your needs. Many materials offer a lasting effect with a lifespan of around 10 years, or even more.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings are a popular choice due to their ability to match the natural color of teeth. With proper care, these fillings can last anywhere from 7-10 years, and some dentists believe they may even last longer.
Porcelain fillings are known for their durability, yet may be more costly than alternative options. A porcelain filling can remain in place for up to fifteen years.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Glass ionomer fillings are typically utilized for cavities that lie just below the gum line; however, they are not strong enough to be used as a filling for teeth designed for chewing (molars).
Glass ionomers offer many advantages, including the release of fluoride which helps to protect against future tooth decay. If placed properly, these materials can provide long-lasting protection for up to fifteen years.
Silver amalgam fillings may have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years or longer.
Amalgam fillings have been in use for over 100 years due to their resistance to wear and tear.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research has revealed that amalgam dental fillings release mercury in vapor at low levels. Inhalation and absorption of this vapor by the lungs could lead to adverse health effects in certain individuals.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the majority of evidence indicates that mercury exposure from dental amalgam does not lead to adverse health effects in the general population. The FDA does not advise the removal of amalgam fillings, except when deemed medically necessary by a healthcare professional.
Gold is renowned for its durability, making it the ideal filling material for long-term use. Gold fillings typically last anywhere from 10 to 30 years.
Due to its costliness and incompatibility with the color of teeth, gold is rarely used in dentistry nowadays.
Temporary fillings are designed for short-term use and typically last for approximately 30 days.
Dental fillings provide a convenient, short-term solution until more permanent restorative treatments or procedures can be completed. They are designed to close and protect cavities, reducing the chances of further decay.
How Can I Make My Fillings Last Longer?
Proper oral hygiene is essential for preserving dental fillings.
It is important to take proper care of your teeth in order to ensure that fillings last as long as possible. To do this, please consider the following tips:
- Brush your teeth twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste for optimal oral hygiene.
- Floss daily.
- Moderate your sugar intake.
- It is advised to avoid sticky snacks.
- Use an alcohol-free, therapeutic mouthwash to rinse your mouth.
- Tobacco products should be avoided.
- Stay away from consuming acidic drinks such as soda and juice.
- Avoid biting down on hard foods.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for both check-ups and dental cleanings.