Believe it or not, cavities aren’t just caused by overindulging in sugar. Many other factors, such as lack of fluoride and poor oral hygiene, can also lead to tooth decay. Luckily, your dentist can easily treat the affected teeth with dental fillings. They’re commonly used to replace the tooth structure lost due to decay. However, they don’t last forever and will need replacement eventually. Read along to learn how long dental fillings last, when they need a replacement, and ways to take proper care of them.
How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?
Dental fillings are made of several kinds of materials. The type of filling you receive will determine how long they’ll last. Even though none are considered permanent, some materials are more durable than others. For instance, gold and amalgam fillings can last up to 20 years before needing replacement. Porcelain and composite fillings have a shorter lifespan, but they’re much more aesthetically pleasing. It’s worth noting that factors like your diet, oral hygiene, and lifestyle can affect the durability of your fillings.
When Does a Filling Need Replacement?
As the years go by, your dental filling can become damaged or worn down to the point where it’s no longer protecting the tooth from decay. Everyday habits like chewing and clenching can slowly compromise your filling, creating small pockets where food particles and bacteria can get trapped. It’s incredibly important that you visit your dentist every six months so they can thoroughly clean the nooks and crannies in your mouth. Your dentist can treat the damaged filling to prevent the bacteria from causing further problems. If your tooth is sore, aching, or sensitive, that may mean your filling is damaged and needs to be replaced right away.
How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Fillings
The best way to extend the lifespan of your dental filling is by keeping your oral health in tip-top shape. Here are some ways you can help it last:
- Practice good oral hygiene. Make sure you’re brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing regularly with an antiseptic mouthwash. These standard at-home practices can go a long way in keeping your smile healthy, especially if you have dental fillings!
- Visit your dentist regularly. You should visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. These routine appointments allow your dentist to examine your fillings and catch problems early on. Your dentist can also get an X-ray to search for decay underneath.
- Stay away from poor habits. Clenching and grinding your teeth can damage your filling. If you’re guilty of these habits, your dentist may recommend that you wear a mouthguard to protect your pearly whites.
Dental fillings may not be a permanent solution, but they can provide a long-term upgrade with proper care and maintenance. By keeping your smile in optimal condition, you can ensure it remains problem-free for a lifetime!
About the Practice
At Elmbrook Family Dental, we are passionate about helping our patients achieve their happiest, healthiest smiles. Our team uses the latest technologies, techniques, and materials to ensure you receive the best treatment possible. If you have any questions about your dental fillings, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can make an appointment by visiting our website or calling our office!