How Long Do Fillings Last?

Bad news: Your dentist just found a cavity in your tooth.

Good news: You can fix it right away with a filling. There’s no need for a root canal or extraction; in just one appointment, your tooth will be stronger and healthier.

But are fillings a one-and-done procedure?

Not exactly.

Dental fillings last so long that you might forget you have one. With impeccable dental hygiene, you may never need a replacement. But that doesn’t mean they last forever.

Over time, wear and tear can make your fillings fall out. A few other common reasons include biting too hard, tooth decay around the filling, a mouth injury, or grinding your teeth. And if the filling falls out right after it’s placed, it probably didn’t bond properly with your tooth.   

After you get a filling, how long can you expect it to last? Here’s what you need to know:

How Long Do Different Types of Dental Fillings Last?

Based on the type of filling material your dentist used, its lifespan will vary. Here’s a general timeline of how long fillings will last:

Silver Fillings (Amalgam Fillings)

Made from a metal alloy, these fillings are the least expensive and incredibly durable. On average, a silver or amalgam filling will need to be replaced after 15 years. Not bad!

Composite Fillings

Along with offering lasting protection, composite fillings are designed to blend seamlessly with your surrounding teeth. They last nearly as long as amalgam ones do.  Your dentist will match your composite filling to the colour of your natural teeth. 

Gold Fillings

Flashy and fashionable, gold makes a statement. It also makes for a great filling material. Gold fillings are more expensive, but there’s a reason for it: They last the longest out of all filling materials. They can remain on your tooth for up to 30 years! Consider them the gold standard in dental fillings. 

Glass Ionomer Fillings

These fillings are made with a type of glass and fluoride (which helps protect your teeth from decay!). But even though they’re aesthetically pleasing, they’re weaker than other fillings and may last just 5 years. 

Not sure what kind of filling is right for you? It’s a balance between choosing one that’s durable, meets your filling needs, and makes you feel confident about your teeth. At Dental House, we’ll help you choose the right filling material for your smile. 

How To Make Your Fillings Last Longer

We’re willing to wager that you’d rather reduce the number of times you need a filling replacement. It’s lighter on your wallet and saves you a trip to the dentist! Plus, it’s always beneficial to take better care of your teeth.

We’ve listed a few ways you can prolong the lifespan of your fillings. Here’s how:

  • Prevent large cavities from forming. Small fillings tend to last longer than larger ones. Your best bet is to keep cavities smaller in the first place. And to do that, you need an excellent hygiene routine. That means flossing daily and brushing once in the morning and again at night. 
  • Stay away from hard, sticky, or crunchy foods. Got a sweet tooth? Sugary foods are harmful to your teeth in more ways than one. Since candies are hard to chew, they increase the risk that you’ll break a filling. The same goes for tough meat and crunchy bread. 
  • Get a night guard. Do you grind or clench your teeth? This bad habit can drastically reduce the longevity of your teeth. But with a night guard, you can protect your teeth from the dangers of bruxism, and ensure your fillings last longer.

What To Do if You Lose a Filling?

You’ve taken a bite of food and felt something come loose. Could it be a tooth?

Upon further inspection, you find that you’ve lost a filling. What should you do?

As we’ve mentioned, most fillings fall out eventually. But it’s important to do something about it! 

You got that filling for a reason: To seal up a cavity in your tooth. Without it, your tooth is susceptible to bacteria. Left untreated, you could develop a root canal infection or gum disease. 

Without a filling, you may notice:

  • Increased sensitivity when eating or drinking
  • A sharp, jagged edge where the filling used to be
  • Sharp pain

We recommend calling your dentist right away. In the meantime, try not to chew in the affected area, and gargle with salt water to keep it clean. 

Book Your Next Cleaning at Dental House!

At our dentist office, we help keep your teeth strong, whether that’s by cleaning them, filling cavities, or straightening crooked teeth. We tailor your treatment based on your smile goals. 

Need to replace an old filling? Maybe you want to get a cavity checked out. Either way, schedule your next cleaning at Dental House!