The biggest threat to your oral health is tooth decay. Although cavities are preventable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 92% of adults have had at least one in a permanent tooth. If you’re among those who have had a cavity, a filling was probably used to treat it. This provides an effective and long-term solution to save your smile, but do fillings need to be replaced? Here’s what you need to know to ensure your tooth stays strong and healthy.
How Often Does My Filling Need to be Replaced?
A filling is used to treat an area of decay. It stops it from spreading and restores the tooth’s strength. Although a filling will last for several years, it won’t last forever. Depending on the type used, here’s how long you can expect your restoration to last:
- Amalgam Fillings
The most traditional fillings are those made from a mixture of metals. Amalgam fillings are durable and effective, which is why they have been used for well over 100 years. On average, you can expect a metal filling to last for about 15 years before needing to be replaced, but the length of time can vary based on several factors, such as if you grind or clench your teeth.
- Composite Fillings
Tooth-colored fillings are made from a mixture of fine glass and plastic particles. They are customized to match your enamel to blend in when you smile. Although they aren’t made from metal, they are durable. They generally last 10 to 12 years before needing to be replaced.
Why Does My Filling Need to Be Replaced?
There are several reasons why your filling may need to be replaced over time. Most often, it is the result of daily wear and tear. As you chew, your filling is placed under a great deal of pressure. Over time, it can cause it to crack, leak, or fall out. If your filling no longer protects your tooth as it should, it can cause bacteria and tiny food particles to become trapped underneath it. You’ll need to have the filling replaced to prevent new decay.
If you have a composite filling, it’s normal for it to discolor over time. As a result, it can stick out like a sore thumb. You can have it replaced to ensure it continues to blend in seamlessly when you smile.
Are There Signs My Filling Needs to Be Replaced?
If your filling is not functioning as it should, you may experience some sensitivity or pain. It’s best to contact your dentist right away to have your tooth examined. They will determine if it’s time to have your filling replaced to continue protecting your smile.
About Parker Dental & Orthodontics
Parker Dental & Orthodontics provides personalized solutions to help our patients achieve their best smiles. Our dental team is committed to ensuring the teeth stay strong and healthy for a lifetime through a focus on prevention; however, we know cavities happen. We offer the solutions you need to restore a healthy smile. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.