It may surprise you to find out, but tooth fillings don’t last forever. There are different types of fillings, and each has slightly different longevity. The length of time that dental fillings last also depends on where they are located in the mouth and how well they are cared for. Let’s explore how long do tooth fillings last.
What Are Dental Fillings?
Tooth fillings are done to clean out the infected material produced by dental decay, and then to fill the hole up afterwards to make your tooth strong and to prevent future infections. The most common types of fillings include
- Composite resin
- Gold inlays
Each filling material has a different lifespan. You can discuss this with your dentist in more detail once you have received a treatment plan. While it may be tempting to choose the most affordable filling material on the plan, when you factor in having it redone in the future, you may change your mind.
Do Tooth Fillings Last Over Time?
It is normal for fillings to loosen or wear down over time.
Loose fillings need to be replaced as it is possible for a space to open up between your tooth and your filling that could allow bacteria to enter, causing an infection.
Composite resin is a softer filling material and can wear down over time.
So How Long Do Tooth Fillings Last?
Amalgam fillings can last for up to 15 years, while gold inlays have the longest lifespan and can last for longer than 20 years. Composite resin and porcelain may last for five to eight years.
Do Dental Fillings Hurt?
The dental filling procedure is performed under anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort you might feel. Once the anaesthetic has worn off, you may experience some sensitivity and discomfort. This is more likely to happen if you had deep decay or your tooth nerve becomes irritated as a result of the infection or during the procedure.
If you experience sensitivity to hot and cold, or when biting down, you should speak to your dentist as it is possible that the filling has been built up too high and needs to be adjusted.
Ultimately a filling is done to address infection and eliminate any source of pain. After a few days, your tooth should feel and function just like the other teeth in your mouth.
What Are The Alternatives To Dental Fillings?
Dental decay should be addressed as soon as possible as it can lead to tooth loss. Small cavities are easier, quicker and cheaper to treat than large ones. Large cavities and significant decay may need to be treated with a dental crown in order to restore your tooth. Untreated tooth decay can progress quickly to affect the other teeth in your mouth, and the underlying gum and bone.
Do Tooth Fillings Last Forever?
Unfortunately, tooth fillings do need replacement in time. To find out more about how long do tooth fillings last, and the best material for your needs, please contact Bondi Beach Dental at (02) 9159 6957.