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How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

25 Dec 2020  |  No Comments

Close up image of gold dental filling

Decayed or broken teeth can be addressed with dental fillings, to restore structure and bring back function and aesthetics to the mouth. Of course, once fillings have been inserted, patients want them to last as long as possible – to avoid any damage to the teeth and ensure that having them replaced doesn’t come around prematurely.

There are a number of materials available for fillings, with some being more effective and durable than others. Over time, dentistry technology has progressed to bring better, longer-lasting fillings to the industry.

How have fillings changed over time?

It’s difficult to say exactly how long fillings will last, as longevity depends on the filling material and the care from the patient. By comparing traditional and modern fillings, we can get a slightly better idea of how long you can expect yours to last.

Mercury

In the past, fillings were made of mercury, silver and other metals. Known as amalgam fillings, these required removal of chunks of the natural teeth, in order to “wedge” in the material. This compromised the tooth’s structure, and would often cause issues such as cracking and discolouration.

Gold fillings

Gold fillings used to be chosen because patients liked the way they looked, but they’re much less widely used nowadays. Thanks to the durable qualities of gold, these fillings usually last up to 15 years – but often longer.

Composite resin fillings

Unlike the more traditional gold and amalgam fillings, composite resin fillings are made of tooth-coloured material that makes them blend more easily with the rest of the mouth. They generally last up to 5 years, although this can be longer with proper care.

Porcelain/ceramic fillings

Porcelain fillings are similar in price – and lifespan – to gold fillings. They can last around 15 years, but are less visible than their gold counterparts.

A popular alternative

In many cases, you may be able to choose a dental crown instead of a filling, when there’s a cavity to fill. A crown is simply a cap made of porcelain that is placed over the tooth, to cover any surface above the gum line.

They’re largely indistinguishable from natural teeth, and restore function and aesthetics to the mouth. Your dentist at Marsfield Dental Clinic may recommend a crown instead of a filling when a large part of the tooth is missing or the tooth is very weak. Placing a crown early on prevents the issue from worsening, and the best option for you depends on the severity of the decay, your health and some other factors.

Book an appointment

Contact Marsfield Dental Clinic to find out ways to extend the life of your filling, or for an examination to determine which solution is best for your cracked or decayed teeth.

You can reach us by calling (02) 9887 1961 or sending an email to info@marsfielddentalcare.com.au. Alternatively, book an appointment online for quality oral care in Sydney for you and your family.

"The information in this website may be simplified in nature and does not replace professional advice. Risks and consequences may apply to any treatment. Always seek a second opinion when considering complex treatment. A referral to a specialist may be required in certain situations. Quotations can only be given after proper clinical assessment and so pricing details cannot be given over the phone."