How Long Should a Dental Filling Last?

Composite Fillings St. George, UT

Everything to know about dental fillings

Dentists often recommend fillings when a cavity forms on a tooth. A cavity is a hole that is caused by acids eating away at teeth. These holes expand continuously until they destroy the tooth or lead to infection.

During the application of dental fillings, the dentist starts with a shot of an anesthetic and removes decayed tooth material from the damaged tooth. The hole in the tooth is then filled with a material appropriately called filling. Materials that can be used to fill up teeth include:

  • Gold
  • Porcelain
  • Silver amalgam
  • Composite resin

Composite resin fillings are the most popular type, thanks to the great aesthetics they provide and their affordability. The process is quite similar when composites are used for fillings, but the material needs to be cured with ultraviolet light.

The lifetime of a dental filling

Dental fillings that are made of metal or gold materials are known to last upwards of 20 years. On the flip side, more modern materials such as porcelain should also last a while, however, typically, not more than 10 years. Composite resin, while a popular material, is not as strong. Most patients need composite dental fillings replaced between five to 10 years. 

How long dental fillings last rely heavily on the patient's oral hygiene routine and their health. Those who practice brushing and flossing on a daily basis are less likely to need their fillings replaced early on. On the flip side, patients that partake in sports or are prone to injury may not have as long-lasting of dental fillings. 

Other things to note

Fillings are designed to last anywhere from 7 to 20 years depending on the material used, the size of the filling, the location of the tooth and how well the patient takes care of their mouth. Fillings deal with the bite forces created when chewing and that takes a toll on them over time. Wear and tear can lead to fillings developing cracks, coming loose or falling out completely. As a result, bacteria and acids in the mouth are free to start expanding the cavity.

Regular dental checkups go a long way when it comes to determining when dental fillings are due for replacement. For example, cracks that develop are rarely visible, but they can be easily detected with x-rays.

Protect your teeth with fillings

Call or visit our St. George office if some of your teeth have been damaged by decay. Our dentist will educate you about the best options, which may include a dental filling. 

Request an appointment here: or call About Dental Care at (435) 359-0147 for an appointment in our St. George office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Fillings in St. George, UT.

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