Fillings present a very useful way to restore teeth to their former shape and function, but with the cost of dental treatments on the increase, most patients want to know how long do tooth fillings last. The answer to this question depends on the type of dental filling you have, as well as your level of dental hygiene. At Top Health Dental we are committed to providing our clients with tooth restorations that suit your needs.
What Are Tooth Fillings And Why Do We Need Them?
At Top Health Dental we offer composite tooth fillings to our patients. Tooth fillings can be used to restore teeth or repair them. Some of the applications where fillings are useful include repairing chipped, broken or decayed teeth, restoring worn teeth or improving the appearance of discoloured teeth.
Tooth fillings allow us to close off open spaces so that no more bacteria can enter the tooth and cause more decay.
What Types Of Tooth Fillings Are Available?
Today fillings can be created from gold, porcelain, composite resin or amalgam.
How Long Do Different Types Of Tooth Fillings Last?
Gold is considered one of the best materials for tooth fillings, because fillings made from gold may last for longer than 20 years. Gold fillings are also well tolerated by your gum tissues but because they typically cost more than other restorations they are not as popular.
Amalgam fillings have become less popular over time, because they are prone to cause blackening of the teeth. The Australian Dental Association says although many patients are opting to remove their amalgam fillings, they are still safe to use, but they require more tooth to be removed than other types of fillings. Because of their dark colour amalgam fillings are typically used for restorations near the back of the mouth. Amalgam fillings can last up to 15 years.
Composite fillings are popular because they are tooth coloured and blend in well with your natural teeth. This makes them ideal for use in the front of the mouth or in places where they would be more visible. Composite fillings may not be well suited for restoring large areas of your tooth because they can wear down over time.
Composite fillings also stain because of their light colour. They usually last for between three and ten years before they need to be replaced.
In the event that you have damaged a large section of your tooth, your dentist may recommend a crown.
What To Expect When You Get A Filling
During a check up with your dentist, each one of your teeth will be inspected. You will receive local anaesthetic to desensitise the area. Before your dentist can complete your filling, he or she will first remove any dead or decayed matter from the tooth. The clean cavity will be filled up with the substance that you have chosen for your filling. If you are having composite fillings, the resin will be hardened using a bright light. Once the filling has dried and hardened your dentist will polish your tooth.
How Long Does The Process Take?
Depending on how long it takes your anaesthetic to start working, one filling takes about 15 minutes to complete.
After your filling, it is normal to experience some degree of tooth sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet tastes. This sensitivity should go away in the days after the procedure.
How Do You Know When Your Filling Has Reached Its Lifespan?
Over time and use, it is quite normal for fillings to wear away, become cracked or chipped. When this happens it exposes the tooth to bacteria that can cause decay. Regular visits to your dentist every six months will ensure that your fillings are in good condition. Your dentist will inspect the state of your fillings and advise you if any need to be touched up.
While you might do your very best to brush and floss twice a day at some point you may experience decay or damage to one or more of your teeth. If you experience pain or sensitivity while brushing or drinking hot or cold beverages it may be a sign that you need a filling and it’s time to get in touch with our practice.
To find out more about how long do tooth fillings last and what types of fillings are the best option for you, please get in touch with us: (02) 8776 3232