Preserving and maintaining your ideal smile can do wonders for your confidence and overall appearance. Maintaining a consistent dental hygiene schedule can prevent discomfort and stress down the line.
However, avoiding all dental issues isn’t always feasible. Stained, missing, or damaged teeth can cause embarrassment and emotional distress. Sometimes you need some extra help and can turn to restorative dental care to achieve your ideal smile.
Dental science has come a long way, and your dental professional will be able to assist you on your dental health journey.
Let’s explore what fillings are, how long fillings last, the types of dental fillings, and the different materials your dental professional can use to fix your teeth.
What Are Fillings?
Fillings are great for repairing cracked or broken teeth and also for teeth that have been worn from things like nail-biting and tooth grinding. To treat cavities, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill the area where the decayed material was removed.
There are 4 main types of fillings, and they all differ in certain ways.
Amalgam is the most well-known type of direct filling material, also known as silver fillings. Amalgam fillings are durable, which gives them long-lasting power. Their metallic colour can make them less visually pleasing for patients.
Ceramic fillings are becoming more popular as they are durable like amalgam fillings and make the filling less visually obvious. These fillings are made from porcelain, and depending on how well they’re maintained, they may last 15 years or longer.
Ceramic fillings are custom made in a dental lab and glued into the tooth.
Composite fillings are a popular option for patients who want to match the colour of the surrounding teeth. Composite fillings are made from a combination of acrylic and ceramic resins.
The process of composite fillings involves chemically bonding the surrounding tooth with an adhesive. Depending on filling size, composite fillings last on average about 7–10 years.
Your dental professional will be able to determine what type and material of filling are best for you.
Fillings Lasting Power
Fillings are used to fix cavities, and the process can be performed by your dental professional in-office. Fillings are designed to last a long time but don’t usually last a lifetime, so getting regular dental checkups can help you determine when a filling may need replacing.
- Your eating habits
- General dental hygiene
- Trauma to your tooth
- Decay around the filling
- Grinding your teeth while you sleep
Taking care of your teeth is essential, and these steps can help avoid issues with your fillings. Your diet can affect how long your fillings last, and avoiding certain foods can help prolong the filling’s integrity.
Some foods to watch out for include:
- Sugar-heavy foods
- Candy, nuts, ice, and other hard foods
- Gum, beef jerky, gummy candy, and other sticky foods
- Tea and coffee
Let’s explore some factors that can affect the long-term integrity of your fillings.
Types of Fillings
When your dental professional carries out the process of applying the filling, there are two ways the fillings can be done:
- Direct fillings are inserted right into the cavity once your dentist clears the hole. In most cases, your dentist can do a direct filling in one appointment.
- Indirect fillings include crowns, caps, and inlays. These filings are custom-made to fit your tooth. Since the filling must be custom-made before installation, indirect fillings usually take 2 or more appointments.
Moving Forward With Fillings
Dental fillings are a long-term investment and a way to achieve your ideal smile safely and efficiently. The customization and efficiency of the procedure make dental fillings a common and popular option.
Book an appointment with your dental professional today for more information and to decide which type of filling is best for you.