How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?

Hamilton dentist inspecting composite fillings in young woman's mouth

Dental fillings are often required when a patient has undergone root canal therapy. A dentist will place a dental filling to cap the top of the pre-existing tooth and prevent any new decay. If teeth are left uncovered, bacteria in the mouth erodes the tooth and its surrounding gums, potentially leading to gum disease or tooth loss.

While a licensed dentist can provide medical advice on what type of filling is best, many patients often wonder about several factors including how long do fillings last and what will be best for their oral health.

What Are Composite Fillings?

Dental fillings can be made from a variety of filling materials, but the most popular by far is composite fillings. These filings are made out of a combination of ceramic and plastic, and are designed in a dental lab to match the appearance and color of a surrounding tooth. This helps them blend in and appear as if they are natural teeth.

The Durability of Composite Fillings

White composite fillings have many benefits. They can be easily placed by a dentist and are relatively affordable. A composite filling also uses tooth-colored material to ensure that the ceramic fillings match teeth and look natural. Composite materials are also long-lasting. A composite filling can protect tooth structure and prevent further decay for 10 to 12 years. They can even last longer than traditional fillings with proper care.

Caring For Your Composite Filling

An unhealthy diet, lack of dental care, smoking, and other factors affect the composition of a filling. Composite resin fillings are no different. A composite filling needs routine care in order to sustain its good condition. Without sufficient care, they can develop weak spots, cause sharp pain while chewing, and could result in tooth decay.

In order to make their fillings last, patients should take care of their teeth. Composite fillings need to be cared for using a strict oral hygiene routine to ensure that their composition is maintained. In order to make composite fillings last:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste to maintain the whiteness of tooth-colored fillings.
  • Floss daily to maintain overall oral health.
  • Avoid mouthwashes that include alcohol. This type of mouthwash can plasticize the matrix of composite resins.
  • Patients with multiple existing fillings should use fluoride gels to reinforce their tooth enamel and lengthen the amount of time until they need to be replaced.

Alternative Options

Silver Fillings

Healthy patients who are not receiving a filling on their front teeth should consider silver amalgam fillings. Silver amalgam filling, also known as metal fillings, has been widely used in general dentistry for over 150 years. Traditional amalgam fillings are created out of a variety of metals forged together including silver, mercury, and a powdered alloy of silver and copper. Other metals like gold fillings can also be used.

Today, many patients choose other fillings over metal because they look much more natural. However, dental amalgam fillings are the most durable compared to all other options. They are also best used for back teeth because they can withstand great use. These fillings can last up to 15 years with great care.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Fine glass fillings are typically used for treating cavities affecting teeth just below the gum line, also known as indirect fillings. This type of filling material can last up to about 15 years.
How Long Do Composite Fillings Last? 1
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