Many people believe that dental fillings last for a lifetime. You might be lucky enough to have them last up to 20 years or so, but most fillings don’t make it that long. Materials that are used to create fillings just don’t last forever. There are several factors that impact the durability of fillings.
Type of material
Most dental fillings are either made from amalgam or composite resin:
- Amalgam is the silver metal kind of fillings that have been around a long time. It is held in place in your tooth by cuts made in your tooth structure that the dentist makes in addition to taking out the decayed part of your tooth. Because of the loss of tooth structure involved with amalgam fillings, your tooth can be weakened. Amalgam fillings usually last 10 to 12 years. If there are signs that the filling is leaking, more decay is present, or the tooth is weak, your dentist will suggest replacing the filling.
- Also known as white fillings, those made from composite resin are bonded to your tooth. During the bonding process, contamination from saliva or blood can occur. Any type of moisture in the bond can weaken its hold. Composite resin wears down faster than amalgam, and the lifespan is usually 5 to 7 years.
The filling’s location is relevant because some areas involve more chewing force than others. For example, molars do more chewing than bicuspids. As more pressure is placed on a tooth containing a filling, the more likely breakage and wear will result.
The more of the natural tooth that is removed due to decay or breaking, the more filling material is necessary to repair it. Typically, larger fillings are more susceptible to leaking and breaking in the future.
Habits like teeth grinding and nail biting affect the durability of fillings. Oral habits that cause teeth to wear faster can damage your fillings. Your diet may also affect your fillings, because sweets can increase tooth decay and stain-causing foods can cause discoloration.
Schedule your appointment at our Huntington Beach dental office