How Long Will Your Tooth Fillings Last?

Woman having teeth examined at dentists

It’s the question we all want answers to. Cavities are nobody’s idea of a good time and having them filled can be an uncomfortable process, to say the least. So if you’re going to need a cavity filled, you want to know how long it will be before you need to return to have the procedure done again.

It’s true that fillings aren’t designed to last forever and how would they even be expected to what with everything we put our teeth through? Biting, chewing, grinding, gnashing, and let’s not forget about all of the foods and drinks we consume, filled with acidic and sugary elements that are only going to help weaken our tooth enamel if we’re not careful about our oral hygiene.

So now that you’re going to be in the dentist chair getting that cavity or cavities filled, your Midlothian Family Dentistry professional will discuss your options with respect to choosing the right material for your filling. That’s because there are a couple from which to choose, each with its own strengths and drawbacks.

The type you select will have some bearing on how long it will last, along with the size of the cavity, and of course, your diligence towards brushing and flossing. So how long will your fillings last? That all depends:

Types of Materials

There are three common fillings that most dentists will suggest they use to fill a cavity in your tooth.

Gold


While not made of pure gold, these filling do contain some amount of it along with copper and a variety of other metals. However, the outer aesthetic does appear gold. Dentists would often choose this material because it’s durable and long-lasting but very few of them use it today.

Gold fillings can typically last for anywhere from 15 to 30 years.

Silver


Similar to gold, silver fillings are an amalgam of various metals including silver, copper, tin, and others. These are also designed for durability and strength and, no surprise, they are less expensive than gold. However, dentists have started to turn away from silver amalgam because one of the metals that were often used along with those mentioned was mercury. Which was determined to be less unhealthy.

Silver fillings will typically last for anywhere from 10 to 15 years.

Composite

These fillings are a combination of various resins and other materials that typically uses glass or quartz in their composition. The material is well-suited for smaller sized cavities. Dentists and patients alike prefer the composite because it hardens to match the natural color of your teeth.

Composite fillings don’t last as long as their metallic counterparts with a lifespan of roughly 5 to 10 years before they need to be replaced.

These life expectancy numbers are intended to act as an overall average. How well you take of your fillings will obviously affect how long they last. If you grind your teeth while you sleep, this could also impose undue wear and tear and that could reduce the lifespan of your fillings.