At Danville Family Dentistry, we hear lots of myths from Hendricks County residents when it comes to dental care. One misconception we hear is that once you get a cavity filled, you never need to have it filled again. Tooth fillings will last the rest of your life.
Unfortunately, that’s not true. How long your tooth filling lasts depends on several factors, like the location and size of the filling, the type of filling material used, if you grind your teeth, and how well you take care of your filling.
Location of Tooth Filling
A dental filling located in a pre-molar and molar will be subjected to stronger chewing forces, causing it to wear down faster. If you have a composite filling that replaces a portion of a chipped front tooth, you could still break the resin material if you bit down hard enough.
Size of Your Tooth Filling
A tooth that requires a large filling is vulnerable to fractures since the structural integrity of the tooth has been compromised. That’s because portions of the tooth structure have been removed because of tooth decay. Even if the fractures are repaired, the more restoration work you have done to a filling, the more it decreases the filling’s longevity.
Type of Filling Material Used
Dentists use several types of materials for tooth fillings, such as gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, and composite resin. At Danville Family Dentistry, Dr. Jon Erickson primarily uses either silver amalgam or composite resin to fill a tooth.
Silver amalgam tooth fillings, which are made up of a mixture of silver, tin, copper and mercury, are strong and durable. However, they are susceptible to fractures from tooth expansion and contraction when you consume hot and cold foods or beverages. Typically, amalgam fillings last between 10 to 15 years. However, most Hendricks County patients don’t like the fact that a silver filling is not as attractive looking.
Tooth-colored composite resin tooth fillings are composed of ceramic and plastic compounds. While composite resin fillings can withstand chewing forces, they’re not as durable as silver amalgam fillings when it comes to constant wear and tear. Patients like that composite resins match their natural tooth color better. However, these fillings can yellow over time. Generally, composite resin fillings last 7 to 10 years.
If you typically grind your teeth while you sleep, a tooth filling can undergo extensive wear and tear. Eventually, your filling will need to be replaced.
Care of Your Tooth Filling
If you don’t take care of your teeth, you can develop decay around a filling, which means it would need to be replaced. To make sure your fillings last for 10 years or more, you should:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time.
- Floss daily.
- Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings at Danville Family Dentistry, located in Hendricks County.
- Avoid chewing on ice and hard, sticky candies.
- Wear a mouth guard when you play sports.
- Avoid habits, like nail biting, teeth grinding, and clenching.
If you’re experiencing tooth pain and think you may have a cavity, contact Danville Family Dentistry to schedule an exam. Dr. Erickson can talk to you about the right tooth filling option for you based on your needs. Restore the health of your tooth for a better smile.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.