How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?

How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?

Feb 01, 2022

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems that dentists deal with daily. The effects of cavities and tooth decay go beyond toothaches and sensitivity. Your teeth are significantly weakened, making them susceptible to further damages such as cracks, chips, discoloration, breaks, and in worse cases, tooth extraction.

If you have a cavity, you need to get it fixed as soon as possible. Getting treatment sooner rather than later will help eliminate the associated discomfort and prevent the need for advanced treatments such as root canals and dental crowns. Visit a dental office near you today for professional help. The dentist will examine the affected tooth and provide the most effective treatment option.

What is a Composite Filling?

The dentist applies filling material to the tooth to fill the holes and restore your tooth’s health to treat cavities. There are several types of dental fillings that you can choose from. Composite and amalgam fillings are the most common. They make composite fillings from composite resin, a tooth-colored material that blends perfectly with the natural color of teeth. Amalgam fillings are silver which some people find unappealing.

Generally, a dental filling treatment procedure is quick and straightforward. The dentist will provide an anesthetic to prevent pain and discomfort. Next, they will drill the tooth to remove any decayed or infected areas. They fill the holes with composite resin materials. Lastly, the tooth is polished to ensure a natural bite and appearance. Commonly, composite fillings can repair several dental imperfections such as:

  • Worn-out enamel
  • Chipped, cracked, broken, or fractured teeth
  • Hollow teeth
  • Improperly gapped teeth
  • Teeth cavities and decay

If the damage is significant, you can combine dental fillings with other dental procedures such as root canal therapy and dental crowns.

What Factors Affect the Longevity of a Composite Filling?

On average, composite fillings can last for about 5-7 years. Other types of dental fillings, such as amalgam and gold, are more durable and last for more than ten years. It’s worth noting that the longevity of composite filling isn’t an exact science. The following factors can affect the lifespan of your fillings:

  • Location of the filled tooth

While composite fillings are ideal for front-tooth restorations, they can treat cavities anywhere in the mouth. Given that different teeth have different functions, the location of the filling can affect its durability. For instance, the molars and premolars are for chewing and grinding food. Applying fillings to these teeth will expose them to significant wear and tear, reducing their lifespan. Front teeth usually have fewer biting functions, meaning that the fillings applied there are likely to last longer.

  • Oral hygiene habits

Your oral habits and hygiene play a significant role in how long composite fillings will last. Composite fillings are likely to last longer when backed with proper dental hygiene and habits. Follow these tips to avoid potential damage to the filling:

  • Brushing and flossing every day will reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth, reducing the risk of cavities
  • Avoid extremely cold or hot items
  • Use a mouthguard for sports and bruxism
  • Schedule routine dental checkups and cleanings
  • Use the right dental products
  • Lifestyle

Your lifestyle can also affect the lifespan of composite fillings. For instance, chewing hard foods such as nuts, ice, dried fruits, sticky foods, and candies can cause your fillings to wear down or get damaged faster. Acidic and sugary foods can also increase the growth of bacteria in the mouth, causing more cavities and decay to the remaining parts of the teeth. Smoking tobacco can also cause discoloration to the repaired tooth, significantly affecting your smile.

  • Dental conditions such as bruxism

Dental-related issues such as teeth grinding and clenching can also affect the lifespan of the fillings. Bruxism causes teeth to rub against each other, exposing the filling to extreme wear and tear. Your dentist will likely recommend night guards to reduce the effects of bruxism on the teeth, jaw, and fillings.

Final Verdict

Although composite fillings are strong and durable, they won’t last forever. To expand their lifespan, maintain good oral hygiene and lifestyle habits. Also, you can consult your dentist for a customized mouth guard if you have bruxism. For more information about dental filling treatments, contact South Hadley Dental Group.

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