The size of your tooth-colored fillings matters. Small tooth-colored fillings mean that more of your tooth is healthy. A small filling, regardless of the material used to fill it, will last longer than big fillings. With big tooth-colored fillings, not only is less of your tooth left, but also the size of the filling itself can lead to problems down the road.
That problems can be:
Your tooth-colored fillings falls out
This development is pretty straightforward. Unless you accidentally swallow the filling, you have hard proof that something is wrong. Your exposed nerve also alerts you. Call your dentist immediately.
Your filling cracks
Any tooth-colored fillings expect a gold one can crack over time. If a filling has cracked, you may not notice anything wrong right away, or you may feel temperature sensitivity. Your dentist may find the crack during your regular cleaning. Cracked tooth-colored fillings can be repaired.
Your fillings leaks
Again, any tooth-colored filling but gold can leak, most often immediately after being put in place. If your tooth is sensitive to cold or hot food and drink for longer than tree weeks, schedule a follow-up with your dentist.
Your filling wears out
It happens to most fillings, even gold ones. You may never notice anything, but a dentist can tell you upon examination whether your filling are still functioning or need to be replaced.
So How Long Do Fillings Last?
While fillings last a long time, none of the materials used in fillings last forever. Assuming that your surrounding tooth remains healthy and the filling itself is not large, you can expect your filling to last for years, even decades:
- Gold fillings – last the longest, anywhere from 15 to 30 years.
- Silver amalgam fillings – can last from 10 to 15 years before they need to be replace them every five to seven years.
“Remember that these are average life expectancies. You can extend the life of your filling by practicing healthy oral hygene and taking good care of your teeth.”