Many people get dental fillings at some point in their life due to tooth decay. This common oral problem affects 90% of Australians in some capacity. So how long do tooth fillings last? The answer is contingent on the types of fillings you have and your level of oral hygiene.
The Benefits of Tooth Fillings
Tooth fillings are a great way to restore or repair teeth. They can be used for restoring chipped, broken, and decayed teeth and improving the appearance of discoloured ones. Tooth fillings prevent teeth from decaying by covering up any gaps that may be present.
Types of Tooth Fillings Available
Your dentist can help you decide on the types of fillings that work best for your smile. At MyHM Dentist in Kellyville, we offer both direct and indirect fillings. Our composite resin and glass ionomer fillings are excellent options that blend in with your natural smile. There are different advantages and properties associated with each of these fillings.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin is a white or tooth-coloured filling material that can be bonded to the tooth’s surface. The composite material can be matched to the natural colour of your teeth with the guidance of your dentist, so it is not noticeable. A high-intensity light is then used to cure and harden it during the dental filling procedure.
However, composite resin dental fillings tend to have shorter lifespans. One study found that composite resin tooth fillings last on average 7 years. Another study found that composite resin tooth fillings can even last up to 10 years if the patient has smaller fillings and practices regular dental hygiene.
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Glass ionomer tooth fillings are made of glass filler and are tooth-coloured, and can be tinted to match your teeth like composite resin fillings.
They also release fluoride, which reduces the risk of developing a new cavity. These are most commonly used for filling tiny cavities at the gum line or for baby teeth.
Glass ionomer fillings typically last for 30-42 months or up to 5 years.
Your dentist may also recommend getting indirect tooth fillings such as onlays and inlays. They are also called partial crowns. These are custom-made to your teeth’s specifications in the dental laboratory, so they require one or more visits to your dentist. Inlays are placed within the cusps of the teeth over the chewing surface. Onlays cover the tooth’s chewing surface and include one or more cusps. These indirect fillings are durable and can last over 30 years.
What to Expect When Getting Dental Fillings?
The dentist will examine your teeth and will apply local anaesthesia to the region to desensitise them before performing any work. They will remove any decayed or dead debris from the teeth before applying the tooth filling.
Your chosen tooth filling will be inserted into the clean cavity. If you receive composite resin tooth fillings, the resin will be set with a bright light. After the filling has been cured and cemented, your dentist will polish your teeth.
Your dental fillings should resemble your natural teeth and you should not experience any discomfort after the procedure is over. There is a possibility you will experience tooth sensitivity immediately after having a filling. The sensitivity should subside after a few days; if it doesn’t, let your dentist know so they can check if there’s a problem with your new dental fillings.
How to Know if You Need to Replace Your Dental Fillings?
How long do tooth fillings last? Tooth fillings can last a long time with proper oral hygiene habits such as brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day. Putting pressure on your teeth when chewing, biting, or clenching could damage your tooth fillings. Over time, your fillings may crack or chip, letting food become trapped between your teeth and the filling. Attending regular dental checkups every 6 months can help ensure your dentist is on top of any problems occurring with your existing fillings.
If you experience extreme sensitivity to heat or cold around your tooth fillings, you can schedule a dental visit to have them checked. The sooner you treat your damaged dental fillings, the better your chances of preventing bacteria from doing more harm to your teeth.
Get in Touch with Us
If you think you may need dental fillings, or if you have questions about replacing an existing filling, contact MyHM Dentist in Kellyville today on (02) 9158 6379.
Our team is led by Dr Hiromi Matsuoka, who has over 20 years of dental experience. With cutting edge technology and a desire to meet your family’s needs, we will work with you to improve your dental health.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.