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How Long Will My Fillings Last?

June 20, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drsapienza @ 1:28 pm
A mirror examining a tooth

Nothing lasts forever, as they say, and that includes dental fillings. While fillings are a safe and effective way to repair tooth decay, they are not a permanent restoration and will eventually need to be replaced. Here’s what you can expect from your fillings, and how to make them last as long as possible.

What Type of Filling Do I need?

When it comes to selecting a material for your fillings, your dentist will be happy to recommend a suitable type. Each has its own pros and cons, but composite resin has become very popular in recent years, thanks both to its durability and its ability to be customized to match the color of your natural tooth.

The Average Lifespan of a Filling

While it greatly depends on how well you protect your teeth, most fillings will last for a minimum of five years. This is also dependent upon what type of filling you have. Here are some common types of fillings and how long you can expect them to survive with proper care:

  • Gold: 20+
  • Amalgam: 15 years
  • Ceramic: 15 years
  • Composite: 7 years
  • Glass ionomer: 5 years

When Should I Replace My Fillings?

While there is no specific expiration date on any type of filling, they should be replaced as needed. Warning signs that it’s time to redo them include:

  • Loose fillings
  • Secondary cavities or decay forming around the filling
  • Wear or damage to the filling

It is important to note that you may not be able to tell by looking at your filling with the naked eye that it needs to be redone. Dental X-rays can often reveal new cavities forming, microscopic cracks, or any other damage that could harm your tooth if not addressed.

How To Extend the Life of Your Fillings

To get the most out of your fillings, it is important to maintain your oral health. Be sure to attend regular dental exams, brush and floss your teeth, and avoid excessively sticky and sweet foods and carbohydrates. Furthermore, don’t use your teeth to bite anything that isn’t food, like fingernails, packaging, or ice cubes. If you find yourself grinding your teeth, speak to your dentist about getting a custom bite guard to absorb some of the pressure caused by your biteforce. It should fit comfortably into your mouth and can save not just your fillings, but your natural teeth, too.

If you notice any changes in your fillings, don’t wait for your next checkup to alert your dentist. Schedule an appointment at once to help prevent a dental emergency like a lost filling or cavity.

About Dr. Sapienza

Dr. Frank J. Sapienza has been practicing dentistry in Brooklyn for more than 30 years. Throughout that time, he has always had a keen interest in both the technology and care aspects of the field, and even authored the book Computers in the Dental Office: How to Evaluate, Select, and Get the Most Out of Your System in 1992.

Today, Dr. Sapienza is an active member of the American Dental Association and the Dental Society of the State of New York.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sapienza, please visit our website or call 718-866-4742.