While we all want our teeth to last for a lifetime, dental cavities can develop as we get older. Cavities are best treated when they are small, and the best way to ensure this happens is to visit your dentist twice a year. That way, any decay can be stopped and filled before it becomes bigger, more painful and more expensive to treat. The good news is that patients have plenty of options for filling materials and different types of fillings for all budgets. Let’s take a look at how long do tooth fillings last.
Do Tooth Fillings Last: Understanding Value
Dental fillings will not last forever but some types of fillings last longer than others with proper care. If you have lost a part of a tooth because of decay, it’s a sign that your oral hygiene needs to be improved and you need to visit your dentist more often.
How Long Do Tooth Fillings Last?
Thanks to modern dentistry, patients have a wide choice of filling materials to repair broken or damaged teeth. Each filling material has its own pros and cons and can restore function to the teeth to enable you to bite and chew comfortably and without pain.
Gold dental fillings can afford you more than 20 years of restoration to a damaged tooth with good care. Gold can be used for crowns, inlays and onlays but needs two visits to your dentist to be completed. Gold fillings are the most expensive option because they last so long.
Silver fillings are long-lasting and can last for up to 10 years with good care. Because they are more noticeable, they are preferred for restorations at the back of the mouth.
Porcelain is a sought-after filling material because it blends in well with the other teeth in the mouth. It also reflects light in the same way as dental enamel, which makes it look very natural and a good choice for dental fillings close to the front of the mouth. With good care, porcelain dental fillings can last for more than eight years.
Composite resin is an affordable and efficient material for dental fillings as it can be completed in just one visit. Compared to other fillings types, it is a lot softer and may only last for four years before it needs to be replaced.
Do Tooth Fillings Last?
The amount of time that dental restorations will last is dependant on a number of variables such as
- The filling material used
- The position of the filling
- The size of the filling
- The dental practitioner’s technique
When Do Fillings Need To Be Replaced?
Over time, dental fillings may become loose or crack due to wear and tear. If they no longer fit the restored area well, they can allow bacteria to penetrate the tooth and cause an infection or inflammation of the tooth pulp.
Some fillings may not look as good as they used to and patients may want to replace them for cosmetic reasons.
Do Tooth Fillings Hurt?
So many patients are experiencing toothache when they visit us for a filling. This means they might be fearful of more pain or apprehensive about having a dental restoration. If you are experiencing dental pain you must have it checked out because it is symptomatic of an underlying problem.
Dental fillings are done under local anaesthetic and your dentist will be sensitive to your pain and discomfort when restoring your tooth. Once the anaesthetic has worn off you might experience some temporary discomfort, but this should subside in the days following your filling. You should not allow the fear of pain to deter you from getting treatment. Even if you can manage toothache with pain medication, the underlying infection or cavity will still be present and needs to be addressed.
Tooth Sensitivity After A Filling
Some patients experience temporary sensitivity after a filling, especially after biting down or when eating and drinking hot and cold foods and beverages. This may be a sign that your filling has been built up too high and needs to be adjusted. It usually takes a few minutes for your dentist to adjust if this is the case.
Any pain or worsening discomfort after a filling should be reported to your dentist as soon as possible as it may be a sign that there is still infected material in the cavity that needs to be cleaned out.
So, How Long Do Tooth Fillings Last?
Good dental care and regular visits to your dentist are still the best ways to manage cavities and ensure that your fillings last as long as possible. When your dentist inspects and cleans your teeth he or she will also look at the state of your fillings and give you an idea of when you can expect to replace them. Any leaks can be tended to, and you can plan your dental care over the long term.
To find out more about how long do tooth fillings last, or how you can make the best decision for your future oral health, please contact us for an appointment: (03) 9626 9581.