Dental fillings are done to cure conditions like cavities. How long do fillings last depends on the kind of materials used for the said purpose? If you know about the material, you can somehow determine how long your dental filling will last.
On average, fillings don’t last very long. Regular or weekly dental checkups are done to help you determine how long it will go and when it must be replaced. But hearing the name of hospitals and doctors makes your toes curl already. The dreaded wirings and the noise of drill are the last things that somebody would want to experience.
Well, the good thing is, it relieves you from pain and fills your decaying tooth with some hard substance to give you a healthy tooth feeling. After getting done with this, you can enjoy meals normally without worrying about anything. It sure is a wonderful feeling, especially when you have gone through the ordeal of eating a steak with your decaying tooth.
The durability of fillings depends on various factors like the quality of materials and how It is done. Here are some steps to make your fillings last long.
How long do fillings last?
Normally, dental fillings last for almost 10 years. Though, they require consistent checkups to keep going well. Here are some other factors that affect the lifespan of fillings other than the materials.
- Eating habits
- Your dental hygiene
- Any tooth injury
- Tooth decaying around the treated tooth
- Teeth grinding while sleeping
If you want to determine how long your fillings will last, the identification of the material is the best way to do that.
Types of Fillings and Their Lifespan:
- Amalgam filling lasts for 15 years
- Composite filling lasts for 7 years
- Ceramic filling lasts for 15 years
- Glass ionomer fillings last for 5 years
It is also called silver filling even though it contains other metals as well. The word amalgam means mixture and this filing is a mixture of copper, silver, tin alloy and elemental mercury thereby it is called amalgam filling.
The reason why this filling is widely used is that it is inexpensive and the most durable filling of all. The dentists have been using it for around 150 years.
According to the studies, the amalgam filling can last up to 15 years before it needs to be changed. Consistent checkups must be done during this period. In another research of 2008, it was identified that 7.1 to 44.7 years is the average survival rate of amalgam filling done by private practitioners.
An amalgam filling can be toxic if you:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Are under 6 years of age.
- Have any kind of neurological or kidney issues.
- Are allergic to mercury.
Composite fillings are made of acrylic and ceramic resins, and it is very popular. Patients prefer it because it often matches with the surrounding of the tooth and does not feel very odd.
The smaller composite fillings can last for even more than 10 years if you take care of your oral hygiene. They are also used for treating chipped teeth and gapped teeth.
Gold fillings are the most durable and expensive ones. They last for more than 20 years and are much more reliable than other fillings. Always go for this option if you can afford it.
Ceramic fillings are made of porcelain. They are even more expensive than gold, thereby are less common. They are prepared in dental labs and then fixed into the tooth.
They are made of glass and acrylic. Dentists place them directly in the tooth. They are not durable, that’s why they cannot be placed near chewing gums.
When Should You Replace a Filling?
In this regard, the size of the filling matters a lot. If you have less filling in your tooth means more of your tooth is healthy and in such cases, the material of filling does not matter. Though for tooth, which is mostly filled, the material matters a lot, and the filling itself will create further problems like:
- Fall out: In most common cases the fillings fall out and, in some cases, you swallow it without even realizing but you remain in doubt that something is wrong in your mouth. In this case, immediately consult with your dentist and get yourself checked.
- Cracks in filling: Fillings cannot stay for long; it cracks overtime except the gold one. It is not noticeable initially when filling cracks, but you may feel sensitivity around that area. It is usually found during regular dental checkups. Cracked fillings can be repaired.
- Filling leak: Again, fillings can leak except the gold one. Most of the time it happens right after putting it in
- Wears out: In this case, you may never notice until a well-experienced doctor checks The doctor will tell you whether it is still functioning or must be replaced with a new one.
Do not forget, these are just averages that we have mentioned to answer your question: how long do fillings last? The overall lifespan surely depends on various factors and can be increased if you take good care of your oral hygiene. Develop healthy eating habits to minimize your dental problems.