Dental fillings are essential for restoring teeth affected by cavity development. A local dentist warns that they won’t last forever. Therefore, if it’s been awhile since you had your filling checked, now is a good time to head in for a visit. As you read on, you’ll discover why this is so important, and you’ll also learn how to prevent a big oral health mishap by receiving a new restoration!
Why Fillings Don’t Last Forever
Throughout a typical day, you’ll eat several times, which means your teeth will be used to tear, grind and chew food. This alone places repetitive stress on your teeth and any fillings, which can lead to basic wear-and-tare, chips, cracks or the filling completely dislodging. A typical warning sign of this is pain when biting into food or your tooth being exposed to extreme temperature changes.
When any breakdown starts to occur, it’s important to have the problem addressed because the filling is the last line of defense against bacteria entering the sensitive inner part of a tooth where the canals and nerves are housed. Ignored, this can lead to painful infection and a chain reaction of events that could culminate in tooth loss.
How Long Do Fillings Last?
The typical lifespan of a filling depends on the type used. The traditional amalgam filling, which consists of a mixture of metals, can last 10 to 15 years with proper care. The alternative, a composite filling, which is a mixture of glass and plastic, has an average lifespan of five to 10 years.
Here are the main contributors to the failure of each type of filling:
- Amalgam – While an amalgam filling is considered to be more durable than a composite filling, it can contract and expand in response to temperature changes. Over time, this can lead to it failing.
- Composite – A composite filling provides a more attractive restoration since it is tooth-colored, and it allows for the preservation of more of the tooth’s original structure. However, the daily pressure applied by eating and the teeth coming together can sometimes cause it to fail faster than the amalgam alternative.
To get the most longevity from a filling, it’s essential to brush and floss at least two times a day and to avoid eating sugary items and hard, sticky candy.
How to Prevent a Mishap
When you visit your dentist semi-annually for cleanings and examinations, he or she will inspect any fillings to make sure they are functioning as they should. Therefore, if there are any weaknesses or signs of future failure, your dentist can address them by placing a new metal-free restoration.
It’s always much easier to prevent an issue from happening than it is to correct it. Therefore, it’s well worth your time to pay your dentist a visit to have any cavities filled or to have an existing filling evaluated.
By taking the right action now, you won’t have to deal with a headache later on. So contact your dentist to schedule a visit today!
About the Author
For nearly 40 years, Dr. Allan J. Milewski has been a fixture in the northeastern Ohio area. A graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, he takes a considerate and compassionate approach to providing care to his patients. To have a cavity filled or a current filling replaced, you can find Dr. Milewski at Medina Family Dentistry. For more information, you can contact him through his website.