Fillings are very common and a large percent of the US population has at least one. This is because there are many causes of tooth decay or cavities. Often times, people don’t know they even have an issue occurring until it’s too late. By that time, odds are, a filling or similar treatment is needed to remedy the issue. Although fillings are a great long term fix, they won’t last forever and will eventually need to be redone.
What Are Fillings?
Fillings are a dental treatment that repairs the structure, integrity, and durability of a tooth that has sustained damage. This damage could be a cavity, crack, chip, etc. Fillings are commonly made out of two different types of material. Amalgam fillings are a type of metal and are the cheaper type of filling. When placed in the mouth, they are the color of metal or appear dark black. The other commonly used type of filling is made of resin which is a touch more expensive but is the same color as a patient’s teeth. This makes it basically invisible which is why it’s the more popular option.
Fillings begin as a liquid and are dried with a special light once they are shaped into place. They are then filed to fit the shape of your teeth to ensure your bite stays even. This treatment is done within an hour in a single appointment while in the dentist’s chair. There are no special steps, pain, or discomfort afterward or during the procedure.
How Long Do Fillings Last?
Depending on the type of filling you have will define how long your filling will last and when it will need to be replaced. Gold fillings which aren’t as common in this day and age can last up to 30 years before needing to be replaced. Amalgam metal fillings can last up to 15 years and resin fillings last up to 7 years. Just like your natural teeth, fillings go through normal wear and tear which means they will be worn down over time. It’s important to note that your fillings may not last the maximum amount of time. Various variables can cause the life of your fillings to be shortened. This is why it’s vital you’re attending your regular checkups every six months so your dentist can catch when it’s time for the filling to be replaced.
Although resin fillings don’t last as long, they are the most popular in modern dentistry. As mentioned, they’re tooth-colored which makes the tooth look natural. Gold and amalgam fillings can be pretty noticeable and have fallen down in popularity despite their longevity. Resin is a softer material that is more easily worn away than metal, but it’s the most comfortable and natural-looking. The most important aspect is that the filling is kept in good shape and updated as needed in order to ensure proper oral health through life.