The Average Lifespan of Dental Fillings
At the practice of Victor R. Siegel, DDS, we believe that providing the best dental care means strong fundamentals. That's why we offer advanced and comprehensive general dentistry services to patients throughout the Rockville area. Many times this means diagnosing tooth decay and placing fillings.
Many of our patients wonder how long their fillings will last once they're in. If you've ever wondered yourself, read on to find out.
Will my dental fillings last forever?
Even though dental fillings are durable and last for many years, the fact of the matter is that your fillings will not last forever. Eventually you will need to get a filling replaced.
Why Your Fillings Require Replacement at Some Point
There are many reasons why people need to eventually get their fillings replaced.
For one, regular wear and tear will do a number on a dental filling. Over years, the materials may wear down and prove not as strong as they were when first placed. This makes sense given the usual stress that's placed on the teeth and the dental fillings.
Another reason is additional tooth decay around the dental filling. Sometimes patients may not brush and floss as much as they ought to, resulting in additional decay. In order to ensure good overall dental health and proper tooth structure, the filling will need to be replaced.
Tooth injuries (such as those sustained during sports) and dental problems such as teeth grinding (bruxism) can contribute to the wear or damage on a dental filling as well, necessitating eventual replacement.
How long do metal amalgam fillings last?
Metal fillings usually have a lifespan of about 8 to 10 years, though we've seen some metal fillings last up to 20 years or a bit longer.
How long do composite/resin fillings last?
Since composite and resin fillings are not as strong as metal fillings, the lifespan of these restorations tends to be around 7 to 10 years.
What to Expect During the Replacement Process
The filling replacement process is very similar to the process of getting the initial filling placed. Local anesthetic will be used to avoid pain and discomfort.
Your dentist will carefully remove a small amount of tooth structure around the old filling to remove it, keeping as much healthy tooth structure in place as possible. A new filling will be laid into the prepped tooth.
The choice to use metal or composite materials will be made during the consultation process based on the location of the tooth and the needs of the patient.
What can I do to make my fillings last their longest?
Prevention is always the best medicine, so ideally it's a great ideal to take good care of your teeth and avoid cavities and the need for fillings altogether.
If you do have fillings in place, however, these tips will help you have a winning smile for years and years to come:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
- Floss at least once a night (ideally after every meal)
- Wear mouth protection during sports
- Avoid smoking and the use of tobacco products
- Drink water to remain hydrated and keep your mouth moist
- Visit your dentist twice a year for routine checkups
Visit the Practice of Victor R. Siegel, DDS
To learn more about all of your options for advanced dental care and what you can do to have the healthiest smile possible, it's important that you contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Siegel and the entire team at the practice look forward to meeting you in person and discussing various topics related to your dental health and wellness.