Tooth fillings become a necessity when your teeth have cavities. Cavities are areas of permanent damage to your tooth enamel. They can be painful and uncomfortable. They also make it hard to eat and drink. Severe cases of cavities require root canal or removal. Mild to moderate cases will use tooth fillings.
What Are Tooth Fillings?
The dentist will need to remove all areas of decay to treat tooth cavities. After removing the decay, they will fill it with a material that helps protect the tooth from further decay. They will apply the same material to areas with cracks or broken teeth.
Types of Tooth Fillings
There are different kinds of dental fillings available. The material the dentist chooses to use depends on the location of decay, the extent, the cost of the filling material, and whether you have insurance coverage. The different types of filling material include:
- Composite resin.
- Tooth-colored plastic.
- Glass ionomer.
How Long Do Fillings Last?
Fillings last for about ten years, but this will depend on the material. Some materials last for much longer. In addition to the materials, other factors will determine the longevity of your fillings. These include:
- Your dental hygiene.
- The damage to your tooth.
- Eating habits.
- Whether you grind your teeth at night.
- Whether there is decay around the filling.
So, how long before you need to replace fillings made from different materials?
These are some of the most expensive fillings. They are more expensive than composite or amalgam restorations. They are also more durable and can last for an average of 20 years or more.
Silver fillings are not as expensive as gold fillings. However, they are still more costly than amalgam and composite restorations. They last for between 12 to 15 years.
Porcelain and Glass Ionomer Fillings
Porcelain fillings consist of oxygen, silicon, and non-crystalline glass compounds. They require several visits to the dentist for installation. They may last around five to ten years, and dentists prefer to use them instead of silver fillings for aesthetic reasons. Porcelain fillings blend well with your teeth.
Glass ionomer has glass and acrylic compounds, and it may last for about five years. They are weaker than other fillings. Dentists will use them near the gumline, where chewing will not affect them.
These are the least expensive and last for about 15 years. However, some people are allergic to some metals in amalgam fillings. You should not get mercury in your amalgam filling if you are allergic to it, pregnant, or have kidney problems.
These are popular because patients can match their color to surrounding teeth. They last for seven to 10 years. They work best when a patient has good oral health.
You may never need a filling replacement. But sometimes, your filling may fall out, wear down, or get a crack. It may lead to further decay of the tooth. So you will need the dentist to remove the existing filling and replace it.
Sore or sensitive teeth also indicate that there may be an issue with a filling. Until then, go for regular checkups where your dentist can also examine your fillings.
For more information on replacing tooth fillings, call Boss Dental Care at (361) 245-5400 to reach our office in Corpus Christi, Texas.