How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

October 22, 2018

We all know nothing lasts forever. Things get worn down over time and need to be replaced when they break or get damaged. Your dental fillings are no different.

However, your fillings can last for what feels like forever if you take proper care of them. In fact, some can last up to 20 years before you need to go back and get a new one!

Why Do Dentists Use Fillings?

Girl getting a dental checkupThe short answer is: fillings are used to prevent decay. The long answer is: when your tooth begins to decay, the process can be halted by filling in your tooth with a stand-in substance. All your dentist has to do is drill away the parts that are decayed and add the new substance in its place.

Your filling may be made of:

  • Amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc)
  • Composite resin (tooth-colored fillings made of a mixture of plastic and glass)
  • Gold
  • Porcelain

Most commonly, dentists today use composite resin because it is the same color as your teeth and naturally blends in. They also require less drilling and bond directly to your tooth, making it stronger.

When Will My Fillings Need to Be Replaced?

Fillings can last anywhere between 7 to 20 years. The longevity can depend on many things including the size and location of your filling and how well you maintain your oral health.

Luckily, fillings are designed to take a lot of stress. We may not think about it, but eating puts a lot of pressure on our teeth. Because of this, your filling can loosen. This creates pockets in between your tooth and the filling that allow food to collect, causing decay.

This is why regular dental checkups and x-rays are so important. Your dentist will be able to see if there are any problems beginning underneath your teeth’s surface before they can cause too much damage. And you’ll want to catch it early! Left for too long, a compromised filling may need an extraction or a root canal instead of a replacement filling.

Warranties for Fillings

At 38th Modern Dental, all composite dental fillings are guaranteed for 5 years. We will refund you the cost of the filling in the case of breakage, misfit or decay within that time period.

However, there is one catch… The warranty is null and void if you don’t maintain your 6-month continuing care cleaning appointments with us. Just another reason to make sure you don’t miss any checkups!

Avoid Decay At All Costs

Anyone who has had to get a filling can probably agree they don’t want to need another. The best way to make sure your current fillings last and you don’t get more cavities is to prevent decay. So brush twice and floss once a day, and visit your dentist every 6 months. It’s really that easy!