According to the CDC, 90% of adults ages 20 and older have had at least one cavity in their lifetime. Tooth fillings are a common way of repairing these decayed teeth. While the question “How long do fillings last?” may have a different answer depending on the material and the placement, there are several signs that they need to be replaced as well as ways to make them last longer.
Types of Fillings
Dental fillings are used to fill cavities after the decayed portion of the tooth has been removed. The main types of fillings are amalgam, composite, gold, ceramic, and ionomer.
- Amalgam or silver fillings contain a mixture of silver, copper, tin alloy particles, and elemental mercury. They’re durable, reliable, and were once the most common treatment for cavities. They are quickly becoming less popular due to potential oral and overall health risks.
- Composite fillings are tooth colored and made from a combination of acrylic and ceramic resins. They use adhesive to chemically bond with the surrounding tooth.
- Gold fillings are much more expensive than composite or amalgam, but they are also highly durable.
- Ceramic fillings are made from porcelain by a dental lab or milling machine. They are even more expensive than gold and glued in a patient’s tooth.
- Glass ionomer fillings are made with glass and acrylic and can be placed directly inside of the tooth. They’re weaker than other kinds of fillings and are generally used for small cavities near the gumline.
How To Make Them Last
Both gold and amalgam fillings can last up to 20 years, composite can last around 10, ceramic can last 15, and glass ionomer only last around five. You may not notice when a filling is starting to have problems, but your dentist should be able to spot trouble during a routine checkup. Even though most fillings will need to be replaced eventually, there are some ways to make them last for as long as possible.
- Eat less sugary foods since this makes it easier for biofilms to grow on your fillings and lead to new cavities
- Don’t chew on hard candy, ice, and other hard things that can make both your fillings and your natural teeth wear down faster
- Avoid gummy candies or vitamins, chewing gum, beef jerky, and any sticky foods that may pull on your fillings
- If possible, cut out drinks like tea and coffee which can stain composite fillings
Though the longevity of fillings varies depending on their location and the material they’re made from, taking care of them as your dentist instructs can aid in extending their lifespan. Make sure to follow the tips listed above to help keep your smile looking lovely!
About the Practice
At Casco Bay Smiles, Dr. Rob McVety and team go beyond what you’re used to from a Falmouth dentist. They believe that patients deserve highly personalized care tailored to their needs and provide a relaxing, comfortable environment to make visiting the dentist more enjoyable. By taking a modern approach to the dental health field, they administer the best quality care with the goal of helping you achieve a healthier, more beautiful smile. To learn more about how long fillings last and how to take care of them, call us at (207) 517-7008 or visit our website.