How Long Do Fillings Last? Here’s How to Tell if You Need Yours Replaced

How Long Do Fillings Last? Here’s How to Tell if You Need Yours Replaced

Dental fillings are becoming more advanced every year, and improvements in lifespan are quite common. But despite the advancements made, fillings still have a finite period of use after which they start to fail. That’s why it’s important to ensure that you know the signs of filling failure. Once your filling starts to fail, you’ll want to promptly make an appointment with your Tucson dentist. So how can you tell if your fillings are failing? Here’s what you need to know.


Silver Fillings Will Last for Over a Decade

The older style of silver fillings, while less popular nowadays due to their aesthetics, are still incredibly strong and durable. Silver amalgam fillings have been in use in North America for over 150 years, and are highly resistant to the wear and tear that comes from chewing – making them ideal for molars. However, even the strongest materials degrade over time – and that means you can expect your silver fillings to last for about 10 to 15 years.

At your routine dental check-ups, your Tucson dentist will be able to tell you if your silver fillings need to be replaced by probing your teeth with a tool called a dental explorer.


White Composite Fillings are Good for 7-10 Years

White composite fillings don’t have as long a history of use as silver amalgam, and that means the data on their longevity is limited. The scientific literature shows that most white composite fillings will last about 7-10 years in healthy patients – but this estimate is based on older kinds of composite fillings, and significant advancements in filling manufacturing have been made since that time (and continue to be made).

Newer studies are finding that white composite fillings are starting to reach par with amalgam, with some studies finding composite fillings that can last for up to 12 years if taken care of properly. However, further research will need to be done before dentists can claim that composite fillings last for over 10 years on average.


Is it Time to Replace Your Fillings?

Silver fillings start to create telltale symptoms when they start to fail. If you notice that your teeth are darkening, it may be the result of the metal leaking out of the filling and into your tooth. You may also feel soreness, or notice that your filling can “give” under pressure. Both are symptoms of a failing amalgam filling.

White composite fillings typically start to cause pain when they fail. Sudden sensitivity around a filled tooth in response to temperature or pressure may be a symptom of a decayed filling. You may also feel pressure when you bite down or have a throbbing or sharp pain that comes and goes. If the decayed filling has caused pulp inflammation, you may experience a constant toothache. Dark spots, teeth that feel rough to the touch, and cracks in your teeth can also be indicative of a failing composite filling.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with your Tucson dentist at your earliest convenience in order to determine if your fillings are starting to fail. In some cases your dentist may recommend further testing, while in other cases you may need to have your fillings repaired or replaced. A dentist will be able to advise the best course of treatment after examination. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a failing filling, contact Badie Dental at (520) 433-9800 to schedule an examination.

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