How Long Do Tooth Fillings Last

By Dr Anthony Hua

With the wide availability of sugary food and drinks, it’s no surprise that dental decay is one of the leading oral concerns today. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the majority (89%) of Australian adults have some experience of dental decay in their permanent teeth. In fact, Australian adults aged 15 years and above reported an average of 11.2 decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT), according to the National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017-18. DMFT is an index score which measures a person’s lifetime experience of dental caries in their permanent teeth.

Getting a filling can be a daunting experience for many individuals, so it’s common that people want to know how long their new filling is going to last. While fillings are designed to last for many years, they aren’t always a permanent solution to your cavities; many fillings will need to be removed and replaced at some stage. So, just how long do tooth fillings last? Take a look here.

How long will fillings last?

The life of a dental filling will depend on the type of material that is used for the filling itself. The most common dental restorations are made of composite resin, glass ionomer and porcelain. The type of filling that was used in your cavity will be dependent upon your dentist and the type of cavity that is being repaired. Tooth fillings can last anywhere from a few years up to 10 years or more. Understandably, the different materials are going to have vastly different life spans and therefore some fillings are going to last longer than others.

What can cause fillings to break or degrade?

As well as the makeup of the filling itself, how you look after the filling and your overall dental health is also going to play a part in how long your tooth fillings last. A good daily routine of brushing and flossing your teeth morning and night will help to extend the life of your filling. Daily wear and tear, constant pressure from eating as well as grinding or clenching your teeth can also play a part in your filling needing to be replaced.

Will old fillings need to be replaced?

Many old fillings will likely need to be replaced at some point. Fillings that have a longer lifespan, such as indirect porcelain restorations often last well into the future. But many others will need to be regularly assessed and replaced as necessary. Replacing your fillings when necessary will ensure that the cavity will not get worse and your teeth will stay in the best shape that they can.

What are the signs a filling needs to be replaced?

There are a few signs and symptoms that your filling may need to be replaced. These can include:

  • A cracked filling
  • Your filling has changed colour
  • Sensitivity or pain when drinking hot or cold drinks
  • The filling has fallen out
  • Toothache when eating or drinking
  • Further tooth decay or infection

If you are presenting with any of these signs then it is best to book an appointment with your dentist to get them to assess the fillings for you.

If you are presenting with any of these signs or symptoms, then it is best to book an appointment with your dentist to get an expert assessment of your teeth.

Knowing how long your tooth fillings can last is a good way to look after your oral health. Understanding how long they’re designed to last and knowing how to care for them can help you extend their lifetime and get the most out of them before they need to be replaced. If you’re worried about your fillings and want to book a consultation with a professional, then give our team at Burleigh Dental Studio a call today. We’re here to help you achieve your best smile.

dr anthony huaArticle by Dr Anthony Hua – Principal Dentist

Dr Anthony Hua is the Founder & Principal Dentist at Burleigh Dental Studio. His passion, expertise and dedication to the field of dentistry have been recognised by his achievement of Fellowship status with the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry (ASID) and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI).

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