How Long Do Fillings Last?

dental filling

After you get a new filling, it takes a bit of getting used to. For the first few days, your tooth feels different, and maybe a little sore. But once a week goes by, you forget all about it.

A filling stops a cavity in its tracks. But here’s the thing: they don’t last forever. Eventually, they get damaged or worn out, and will require a replacement. 

So, how long does the average filling last? That depends on what material it’s made of. In general, metal fillings last the longest and can last over 10 years. However, they have disadvantages.  They are not considered aesthetic and so they are not suitable for front teeth.  Also, they don’t bond to the tooth and often require more tooth to be drilled for mechanical retention.

Many people opt for tooth-coloured fillings instead, even though they’re slightly less durable. On average, composite fillings last 5-7 years.

Want to learn more about filling replacements? Here’s everything you need to know:

Signs That You Need a Filling Replacement

Fillings (which are also known as dental restorations) replace decayed tooth material that’s caused by cavities. How do you know when it’s time to replace a filling? If you notice the following signs, it’s time to call your dentist:

  • It feels loose. Press your tongue against the filling. Does it shift around when you apply pressure? If you just recently got the filling, it might not have been fitted properly to your tooth; call your dentist and ask them to adjust it. But if you’ve had the filling for years, and it’s only now starting to wiggle around, you might need to replace it.
  • You notice pain and sensitivity. Discomfort could be a sign that there may be a problem with your tooth. It’s never something you should ignore. You may have lost the filling. Or, a new cavity may have developed that’s letting bacteria inside of your tooth. 
  • You’ve had the filling longer than ten years. Do you remember when you got your first filling? Many of us develop our first cavity in our childhood. As an adult, you might not remember how long you’ve had that filling in your tooth. Chances are, it may be due for a replacement. 

Make Your Fillings Last Longer

Replacing a filling is costly. What can you do to keep your fillings from breaking?

Rule number one: don’t use your teeth as tools. If you open plastic packages with your teeth instead of scissors, now’s the time to stop.

The next step is avoiding hard foods. It’s okay to eat tough meat every once in a while. But remember that your teeth are not invincible. Things like ice, hard candies, and firm meats (like beef jerky) can cause damage. Opt for softer foods whenever possible. 

Finally, take great care of your teeth! Good care (brushing twice a day) isn’t enough. By great care, we mean flossing, regular cleaning appointments, and a healthy diet, as well. 

Schedule Your Dental Appointment Today

If you lose a filling, how soon do you need to replace it? The answer: ASAP.

When a dental restoration falls out, your tooth will have a hole in it. This space leaves your tooth vulnerable to bacteria, and it will also be more susceptible to breaking. At Fresh Dental in Winnipeg, we offer tooth-coloured fillings that blend in with your natural teeth. No one will be able to tell that you had a cavity. To schedule your filling replacement appointment, contact us today.