Dental fillings are the most common treatment for cavities, which are caused by decay in the tooth. They are used to fill in the damaged area and prevent further decay from occurring. Since they don’t last forever, you need to visit your dentist regularly to determine when your restoration needs to be replaced. Although it’s known that they last a long time, you may want to know exactly how long they last before receiving them. Read on to learn more about the longevity of each type of filling and how to recognize when they should be replaced.
How Long Do Fillings Last?
The lifespan of a dental filling depends on several factors, such as the type of filling material used, the size and location of the filling, and the patient’s oral hygiene habits. In general, dental fillings can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, with some lasting even longer.
While there are many factors that affect the durability of fillings, the materials used can give you a better idea of their average lifespan. Here are the most common types of fillings:
This is a mixture of metals such as silver, copper, and tin. Amalgam fillings are known for their durability and can last up to 15 years or more with proper care. They are also relatively inexpensive compared to other types of fillings.
A tooth-colored material that is bonded to the tooth, composite fillings are aesthetically pleasing and can last anywhere from five to 10 years with proper care. They are more expensive than amalgam fillings but may be a better choice for repairing visible teeth.
This type of filling is made from a mixture of gold, copper, and other metals. Known for their durability, they can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years or more with proper care. While they are more expensive than other materials, they’re a good choice for patients wanting a long-lasting and durable option for restoring a damaged tooth.
These fillings are durable and long-lasting, with a lifespan of 10 to 15 years or more. Ceramic fillings are aesthetically pleasing, but more expensive than amalgam and composite fillings.
When Should Fillings Be Replaced?
If you’re lucky enough, you may never need to replace your dental filling! However, you should consider replacing your restoration if it becomes loose, cracked, or falls out. Otherwise, these issues can lead to further damage to the tooth. If decay forms around the filling, it may need to be removed and replaced with a new one. Some other reasons for replacement include wear and tear over time or improper fit due to changes in the tooth structure. Make sure you visit your dentist regularly to monitor the lifespan of your restoration and identify any issues before they become more serious.
About the Author
Dr. Donald Tamborello, DDS has helped patients in Houston and surrounding communities achieve healthy smiles for over three decades now. Not only did he earn his dental doctorate from the University of Texas, but he is a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry. If you want to learn more about the longevity of dental fillings, he is the right person to ask! You can reach him via his website or call (713) 522-7540.