How long do dental fillings last?

The lifespan of your filling depends on the type of material that is used.

Dental fillings are a common treatment and an effective way to repair teeth damaged by tooth decay and cavities. They can be made from several different materials, and the type of filling that you choose will have an impact on its lifespan. Read on to find out how long you can expect your dental fillings to last and how you can keep them in good condition for as long as possible…

How long do they last?

Most dental fillings last for around 10 years or more, but there are a few factors that can affect their longevity. Factors such as dietary habits, general oral hygiene habits, oral health issues like tooth decay around the filling, and habits like grinding and clenching the jaw can all have an impact on the lifespan of your restoration.

What types of fillings are available?

The most common types of dental fillings are amalgam and composite fillings. Amalgam fillings contain a combination of metals, including silver, copper and tin alloy. Amalgam fillings are very durable and can last as long as 15 years.

Composite fillings are a more modern alternative to amalgam fillings. They are made from acrylic and ceramic resins and can be colour-matched to blend in with the surrounding natural teeth. Composite fillings are chemically bonded to the surrounding tooth with a special dental adhesive and can last over 10 years with the right care.

Can dental fillings be replaced?

It is possible to have dental fillings replaced. This may be necessary if a filling cracks or wears down over time. You may not know that your filling needs to be replaced or that it is no longer protecting your tooth from decay, which is why it is so important to see your dentist for regular check-ups. When you go in for a check-up, your dentist will examine your teeth and fillings and let you know if there are any potential problems. Your dentist will use special tools to examine your filling to check that it is sealed, or if it has worn down to reveal areas in which bacteria can enter the tooth. Dental x-rays are also helpful when it comes to identifying areas of decay under or near to fillings. If your dentist identifies tooth decay or a damaged filling, they may recommend a replacement restoration.

How can you take care of fillings?

To increase the longevity of your dental fillings, you must practice proper oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing. This will help to keep harmful bacteria at bay and prevent tooth decay from occurring under or near fillings.

It’s also advisable to limit your consumption of sugary foods to take care of your fillings in the long term. Sugar promotes the growth of biofilms on fillings, which can cause cavities to develop underneath them. Hard foods, such as certain candy and whole nuts, can also cause damage to fillings and lead to wear and tear over time. Sticky and chewy foods, like gum and candy, can also cause damage to your fillings and should be eaten in moderation only.

It is also worth noting that composite dental fillings can stain just like natural teeth — tea, coffee and highly pigmented sauces, foods and drinks can all lead to discolouration.

How can we help?

At Dream Smiles Specialist Centre, we offer a range of general dentistry services, including dental check-ups, professional cleans and dental fillings. We encourage our patients to come in and see us twice a year — this allows us to assess your oral health, clean your teeth and identify and treat any issues. A dental check-up usually includes dental x-rays, which let your dentist know if any work needs to be done.

If it’s time for a regular check-up, or you suspect that you might need a filling, please give us a call on 07 3344 1220 or get in touch here to make an appointment.