Cavities are a common dental issue that leads to tooth decay and damage. A damaged tooth needs to be treated immediately otherwise, it can lead to severe dental issues and worse – the loss of a tooth. Dental fillings help in treating such teeth that are damaged by decay. It helps restore the teeth function to normal and prevents further decay. There are different types of fillings to choose from. Depending on the extent of decay and repair required, the dentist will choose one for you. The answer to how long do fillings last, depends on the type of filling and its maintenance.
These fillings have a golden look but are made by a combination of different metals. Gold fillings are made of gold and other metals, giving it a look of gold. They are not very popular today but are still the most durable and long lasting option. Gold fillings may not be popular anymore, but they are still the most durable and long lasting option. They can last from 15-30 years with proper care. The dentist first takes your tooth impression during the first visit. The gold filling is made from the impression and placed in your teeth structure on the second visit. Because of the materials and time involved, gold fillings are expensive.
Silver Fillings or Amalgam
Silver or Amalgam fillings are less expensive as compared to gold. They comprise of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. The process to get this filling can be completed in one visit. Amalgam is prone to corrosion or can tarnish over time, which causes discoloration making your teeth appear gray and dingy. Mercury is nearly 50% of the composition that has raised concerns. Amalgam fillings are strong but less durable than gold fillings. They last up to 10-15 years.
Composite fillings can match the color of your tooth leaving you with a natural looking-appearance. They are widely popular today because it naturally enhances the aesthetics of your smile. Composite fillings can be directly bonded to the tooth or can be made from your teeth impression and then fixed. In spite of the advantages they provide, these fillings are less durable and last for around 5-7 years.
While fillings are durable, they cannot last forever. Constant pressure from eating, drinking, clenching or grinding of teeth can damage your dental fillings. Fillings, which have worn out, cracked or broken, need replacement. Such fillings can leave gaps between the tooth and filling, letting in food particles and harmful bacteria. This causes decay and other dental issues.
Your regular toothbrush will be of little use in removing such cavities. This means that it must be immediately remedied by a professional dentist. If left untreated, the decay can move into the pulp, damaging the nerves, which often results in root canal or loss of the tooth. Therefore, regular maintenance of your fillings by a professional is essential.
Dental fillings are helpful in saving your decayed tooth and smile. The lifespan of the filling will depend upon care taken and your oral hygiene routine. Regular dental check-ups are a necessity when you get fillings. This will prevent any possible diseases and also might extend the lifespan of your filling.