Do Dental Fillings Last Forever?

12 Jun 2019 by  admin in White Fillings

Portrait of happy patient in dental chairA dental restoration replaces tooth structure eroded by mild to moderate decay. The benefit is that you do not need the entire tooth pulled to have a strong, healthy smile again. How long your filling lasts depends upon the type of material used and how well you take care of your teeth.

Here at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry, we use top-of-the-line materials combined with patient education to ensure the longest lasting fillings possible.

How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

Some fillings last longer than others, depending on the material. Keep in mind, smaller fillings generally last longer than larger fillings; but over time, even the best laid dental fillings can fail due to constant clenching, grinding, eating, and drinking.

Here’s what you can generally expect:

  • Acrylic Glass Ionomer – Up to 5 years
  • White Composite Resin – 7 to 12 years
  • Silver Amalgam – 15 to 20 years
  • Cast Gold – 15 to 30 years
  • Ceramic Porcelain – 15 to 30 years

We can expect even more durable materials in the future. This year, a team of researchers at the OHSU School of Dentistry in Portland, Oregon developed a filling material two times more resistant to breakage than standard fillings by using the additive thiourethane, which is used in protective coatings for decks and automobiles. The adhesive they’ve developed is 30 percent stronger after six months than anything currently used, according to a study published in the journal Dental Materials.

Of course, longevity is just one consideration for tooth fillings. Aesthetics, location of the decay, age, insurance coverage, cost, and accessibility are other factors to mull over before you and your dentist decide upon the right material for your situation.

How Do I Know It’s Time For Dental Filling Replacement?

Fillings that wear away, chip, crack, or fall out pose a risk to the patient, as it leaves a gap where food particles and bacteria can enter the body. It is therefore essential that you see a dentist right away if you suspect your filling has failed.

Signs your dental filling may need replacement include:

  • Your tooth feels temperature sensitivity with hot or cold foods and beverages.
  • You experience pressure when you bite down.
  • A throbbing or sharp pain comes and goes.
  • Your tooth constantly aches with inflammation.
  • You notice a visible crack in the tooth.
  • Your once tooth-colored resin darkens or turns yellow.
  • Part of an old filling has fallen out.

You can apply dental cement, found in drug stores, to temporarily treat an area where a filling has failed, exposing the tooth to the elements. Next, contact a dentist for further testing or immediate treatment.

Dental Fillings in Suffolk County

Most patients visiting our Suffolk County office inquire about tooth-colored fillings, as they are affordable and look indiscernible from real teeth. The process is quite simple. The decay or old filling material is removed under local anesthesia. We isolate the tooth to keep moisture out and apply a special type of “hardening” light to the bonding material. A basic filling can be done in just one office visit. More complex cases could require two or three visits.

If you’re looking for the best dental restoration Suffolk County has to offer, contact Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry.

Additional resources:

  1. Science Daily – Dental fillings could last twice as long,
  2. Web MD, Dental Health and Tooth Fillings,
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