How Long Does a Dental Filling Last?

Fort Washington Dental Associates sheds light on the longevity of dental fillings, exploring types like amalgam and composite, and offering expert tips for maintenance. Delve into their guide to understand how the right care can extend the life of your fillings.
A smiling young woman with braces, wearing a green and white dress, standing outdoors.

Have you ever heard of dental fillings? You may be surprised to learn that even if you’re a candidate for this procedure, you might not know much about it. That’s where we come in.

Here at Fort Washington Dental Associates, we have all the answers you need when it comes to dental fillings. Whether you’ve had a cavity, cracked a tooth, or just need to replace an old filling, we’ve got you covered.

Our team is dedicated to making sure you’re comfortable throughout the entire process no matter how anxious you may feel.

Don’t let the thought of a dental filling scare you. Let us take care of you and your smile. Stick around to learn more about how we can help you achieve optimal oral health.

What Is a Dental Filling?

Have you ever had a cavity? If so, chances are you’ve had a dental filling.

A dental filling is a routine dental procedure that involves replacing a decayed or damaged tooth with a filling material after its removal.

Dental fillings can help restore the function of your teeth and prevent further decay or damage. There are several types of dental fillings available, including amalgam, composite resin, ceramic, and gold.

Your dentist will help you choose the best filling material for your specific needs. While no one looks forward to getting a dental filling, it’s a simple and effective way to maintain a healthy smile.

Why Would Someone Need a Dental Filling?

So, why would someone need a dental filling in the first place?

Well, it all comes down to tooth decay. Our teeth are under constant attack from bacteria, acid, sugar, and other things that can wear them down.

If you don’t take good care of your teeth, you can develop cavities, which are small holes in your teeth that need to be filled. A dental filling is a way to repair the damage done by decay and keep your teeth healthy.

It may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it’s a lot better than having a toothache or losing a tooth altogether.

Different Types of Fillings:

It’s never a fun experience to find out that you need a dental filling, but fortunately, there are several options available to choose from.

1. Amalgam fillings:

Amalgam fillings are made of a mixture of metals, including silver, copper, and mercury. They are strong and durable, and can last for many years. However, they are also the most visible type of filling, so they may not be ideal if you are looking for a filling that is less noticeable.

2. Composite fillings:

Composite fillings are made of a plastic and glass mixture added to resin. They can be matched to the color of your teeth, so they are less noticeable than amalgam fillings. Composite fillings are also less likely to cause sensitivity than other types of fillings. However, they are not as strong or durable as amalgam fillings and may need to be replaced more frequently.

3. Gold fillings (Onlays/Inlays):

Gold fillings are made of gold alloy and other metals. They are strong and durable, and can last for many years. Gold fillings are also less likely to cause sensitivity than other types of fillings. Unfortunately, they are the most expensive type of filling and are also quite visible, so they may not be the best option if you’re looking for a filling that is less noticeable.

4. Ceramic fillings (Onlays/Inlays):

Ceramic fillings are a popular choice among patients who prefer tooth-colored fillings over other material. Ceramic fillings are typically custom-made in a dental laboratory out of ceramic powder and a liquid binder to precisely fit the contours of the patient’s tooth, while blending seamlessly. They work by bonding to the tooth structure, providing a long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing restoration for teeth that have been damaged by decay or trauma. 

Additionally, ceramic fillings are biocompatible, meaning they do not contain any harmful materials or cause any adverse reactions in the body. Their durability and natural appearance make them an ideal choice for restoring teeth in the smile zone, where appearance is of utmost importance.

Both ceramic and gold fillings can serve as either an onlay or inlay, depending on the extent of the damage to the tooth. In addition to ceramic and gold, there are other materials that are commonly used as onlays and inlays, including composite resin and porcelain. 

How Long Does a Dental Filling Last?

As we discussed, there are four common types of dental fillings: gold, ceramic, composite, and amalgam.

●  Gold fillings (onlays/inlays) have been found to last on average 20-25 years with proper care, as they are extremely durable. 

●  Ceramic fillings (onlays/inlays) have been found to last on average 10-15 years with proper care. Research is ongoing as this is a newer material compared to the other three types.

●  Composite fillings are less expensive than gold fillings and last for less time, with an average lifespan of around 5-10 years.

●  Amalgam fillings made from a mixture of metals are an affordable option as well and last an average 10-15 years.

Factors That Affect The Lifespan Of a Dental Filling:

When you get a dental filling, you want it to last as long as possible. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that can affect its lifespan.

The type of filling material used can make a big difference. Some types, like gold or ceramic, are more durable than others.

However, the location of the filling can also play a role. Areas of the mouth that experience a lot of pressure, like molars, may wear down faster than others.

Additionally, poor dental hygiene practices can speed up the deterioration of a filling. Brushing and flossing regularly can help prevent decay and keep your fillings functional for longer.

Ultimately, there are several factors that go into determining the lifespan of a dental filling. Your dentist can help you choose the right materials and provide guidance on how to care for them for optimum durability.

Signs That Your Dental Filling Needs To Be Replaced:

Dental fillings are designed to last for many years, but over time they can begin to deteriorate. After a while you might be wondering, “When do I need to get them replaced?”

It’s important to keep an eye out for any signs such as:

●  Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures

●  Pain or discomfort when biting down

●  Visible cracks or chips in the filling

●  Filling has fallen out altogether

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away to get your filling evaluated and replaced if necessary. By taking care of your dental fillings, you can help ensure the long-term health and durability of your teeth.

Tips For Taking Care of Your Dental Fillings:

Like any other dental work, fillings need proper care to last longer and perform their duties effectively.

Here are some tips to take care of your dental fillings:

●  Maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily.

●  Avoid eating hard or sticky foods that can damage or dislodge your fillings.

●  Keep up with your regular dental check-ups and cleanings to detect any issues with your fillings in time.

And finally, if your fillings look or feel different, contact your dentist immediately to schedule an appointment.

By following these tips and taking good care of your dental fillings, you can ensure long-lasting oral health.

How Can Fort Washington Dental Associates Help Me?

Going to the dentist can be nerve-wracking – nobody wants to experience the sound of drills or be told they need major dental work.

But here at Fort Washington Dental Associates, we’re dedicated to making your experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

With our warm and welcoming staff, we understand that dental work can be daunting, which is why we never push unnecessary services.

Our team is here to help you with dental fillings, getting your oral health back to its optimal state. If you’re in need of a filling, don’t wait any longer – we’re here to make the process as seamless as it can be.

Book an appointment today by calling 212.928.9000 or emailing us at

Book an appointment today.

Iliana Cepero
Iliana Cepero
23:13 16 Jan 24
Dr. Lee was incredibly kind, clear, and thorough when I went for a consultation. Doctors who spend time explaining things to a patient and giving them the best and most affordable options do not abound these days. He is very smart too. Strongly recommended!
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