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How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?
Dental fillings have become quite sophisticated in the past decade. Due to improved materials, some of them have a much longer life span. For you as the patient, that means not going to see a dental professional as often. However, even quality fillings fail. When that happens, it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with a dentist right away.
Different kinds of dental fillings
There are three primary options for dental fillings — silver, gold and composite. Silver fillings are amalgams, meaning these consist of different metal materials. Gold is exactly what it sounds like. While not as popular, there are still plenty of people who prefer gold fillings. Then there is the composite option. Made from porcelain or resin, composite fillings look natural, making them a popular choice.
For more than 150 years, people in North America have had cavities filled with silver dental fillings. A key advantage is an incredible resistance to wear and tear. For that reason, these work great on back teeth used for chewing. On average, these fillings typically last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. It all comes down to the exact metal and how well patients care for their teeth.
Just as with silver dental fillings, those made of gold last between 10 and 15 years. In fact, it is common for them to provide even more years of service. Along with strength and durability, gold fillings will not corrode. While not for everyone, plenty of people feel that gold is more visually pleasing than silver.
The number one reason why so many patients choose composite dental fillings is they match the natural tooth color. A dental laboratory can make them in virtually any shade required. At this time, fillings made of composite material last from seven to 10 years. Remember, these have not been around as long as the silver ones. With advances in the future, there is a good chance the life span of composite fillings will improve.
Replacing dental fillings
Usually, a person can tell when the time comes to have a filling replaced. For instance, with silver dental fillings, it is common for the tooth to darken. As for the other kinds, most people begin to experience pain and tenderness. If any type of filling begins to break down or falls out, it is important to see a dentist quickly. Otherwise, any decay could worsen and spread.
Of course, for people who have silver fillings but prefer composite, they can ask their dentist to make the change. The process is similar to having the initial cavity filled. The only difference is that typically, there is not as much work involved. In no time, a dental professional can have the old filling out and the new one in.
Maintaining healthy teeth
Dental fillings play an important role in keeping your teeth healthy. They seal the hole where a cavity once resided. These also provide some degree of structural support. If you have fillings but experience a problem, contact your dentist. The sooner you get in, the better off you are. Keep your teeth healthy with regular brushing and flossing.
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