Together, bacteria, plaque, and tartar are responsible for tooth decay, one of the most common oral health concerns. Tooth decay destroys healthy tooth enamel and leaves the damaged tooth weak and vulnerable to further complications. Restorative dentistry treatments rebuild lost structure and protect the tooth so that additional problems can be avoided.
The most common treatment for tooth decay is a dental filling. A dental filling replaces lost enamel, blocks out harmful bacteria, and prevents further decay and infection. However, dental fillings do not last forever. Dr. Wayne Myles discusses the average dental fillings lifespan and what can be done when a filling is no longer structurally secure.
How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?
There are several materials available for dental fillings, each of which has its own characteristics of strength and durability. Dr. Myles offers his patients tooth-colored composite fillings because of their durability, the maximum preservation of tooth structure, and their aesthetic benefits. On average, a composite tooth-colored filling lasts between seven and ten years. There are many factors that affect the lifespan of a tooth-colored dental filling.
While certain habits will increase the amount of wear and tear that is put on a dental filling, other habits can help to extend the lifetime of a dental filling. By caring for the teeth and dental fillings properly, patients can help to ensure that their fillings last for 10 years or more. Below are some helpful tips in extending the lifespan of a dental filling:
- Brush the teeth two to three times a day for two minutes at a time
- Floss daily
- Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings
- Avoid placing excessive pressure on the teeth by abstaining from hard, sticky foods
- Avoid habits such as nail biting, teeth grinding, and clenching
- Protect the teeth with a mouth guard when participating in athletics
Replacing a Dental Filling
No matter how well cared for a dental filling is, chances are that it will need to be replaced at some point. In some cases the filling may crack or fall out, making the need for replacement obvious, while in other cases, the underlying tooth may suffer from decay or infection, a sign that the dental filling is no longer doing its job.
There are options to consider when replacing a dental filling and the most appropriate treatment will be determined based on the state of the natural tooth once the filling has been removed. If the underlying tooth is in the same state as when the filling was placed, it can be treated with a new filling. However, if any additional damage has occurred, Dr. Myles will consider a more extensive restorative treatment, such as an inlay, onlay, or dental crown.
Schedule a Dental Exam Today
While Dr. Wayne Myles is skilled at creating beautiful smiles, his top priority is to preserve and/or restore the health of those smiles. Our general and restorative dentistry services are aimed at doing just that. If you have a filling that needs to be replaced or a tooth that is in need of treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Myles at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!