Does a Dental Filling Last Forever?

Many of us have dental fillings in our mouths as part of treatment for cavities. Dentists treat this form of tooth decay by removing the damaged part of the tooth and placing a composite resin-based dental filling. The composite filling will affectively restore the tooth’s structure.

The filling will enhance the tooth’s ability to perform oral functions, like biting and chewing. It also creates a seal to protect this vulnerable section of your tooth from further damage.

Though durable, fillings will wear down over time, so cavity fillings do not last forever. If your filling sustains damage, you will need a new one to replace the worn filling and continue protecting your dental health. Find responses from your dentist to frequently asked questions about replacing dental fillings when you read on.

Does a dental filling last forever?

How Long Does a Dental Filling Stay in My Tooth?

On average, a dental filling will stay in place in your tooth for about ten years after cavity treatment. Then, natural wear and tear may make the filling loose or damage it. Damage to the filling can expose the vulnerable part of your tooth, putting you in danger of new decay or infections.

A few factors might influence the lifespan of your filling. For instance, a metal-based filling might last a few years longer than a composite one. And your oral habits can influence the well-being of your filling. Brushing and flossing daily can keep the restoration healthy.

A highly acidic diet, like drinking citrus juices or consuming added sugar, may contribute to tooth enamel erosion. When your dental structure sustains damage, it will affect your filling as well. Then you may need a replacement filling at a faster rate.

Make sure you practice good oral hygiene to preserve the strength of your natural teeth. Healthy teeth and proper care can ensure your dental work lasts for as long as possible.

How Can I Tell If I Need a New Filling?

Your dentist can evaluate the state of your existing filling when you attend a dental check-up. But you might also notice some signs of a damaged or worn filling that requires replacement on your own.

For instance, an old filling might not fill the entire space from the cavity anymore. This can expose the inner layers of the tooth, including the nerves, giving you tooth sensitivity pain. The filling might feel loose on the tooth, or you notice odd pressure when you bite down on it. When biting or chewing causes pain, it’s an indication of recurring tooth decay or cavities around the filling.

Pain can also come from discomfort or sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures in the tooth with the filling. You might also see visible signs of a worn filling. If you can see a hole in your tooth, or if it’s a discolored filling, then it’s time to replace it. A dentist can use different types of filling depending on the location and extent of the damage.

How Does a Dentist Fix a Worn Filling?

Your dentist can usually replace an old worn filling or amalgam fillings within one dental appointment. Then, the dentist can easily remove the old filling from the tooth. The dentist begins by using a local anesthetic to numb the affected area so you don’t feel anything.

Next he will remove the old filling and any decayed material in the tooth. The dentist will use a dental drill to carefully clean out the area and prepare it for a new filling. Once he removes the old filling, the dentist will then select the appropriate compounds for the new filling. He can apply composite resin to the tooth and mold it to your unique standards.

The dentist will then carefully sculpt the new filling to fit the shape of the tooth and ensure a proper bite. Then he cures the resin using a UV light to harden and seal this new filling into place. Finally, the dentist will polish the filling to smooth out any rough edges and ensure a comfortable fit.

If your underlying tooth suffers further damage, you may require a dental crown rather than a new filling. A dental crown will cover more of the surface of your tooth. Get in touch with Dr. Boenning and Dr. Dancykier to ensure your oral health is in good shape today.