Dental fillings, which are also called dental restorations, are a common practice among Reno dentists, and you may have had this procedure done yourself. Fillings are done when a cavity is found in one of your teeth which could be allowing harmful bacteria, such as tooth decay, to attack your tooth. In order to prevent further damage and restore proper function of the tooth your Reno dentist will fill the cavity to ensure optimal oral hygiene. Although it may seem like the problem is taken care of and you won’t have to worry about the filling ever again, that’s not entirely true. While these fillings are designed for durability and protection, they don’t last forever. Take a look below to see how long dental fillings last and when it might be time to have them replaced.

Types of Dental Fillings

There are about 3 common types of fillings used in dentistry which are gold, silver amalgam and composite resin. And the type of filling you have will play a key role in the duration of time that your filling lasts. So, it’s important that you choose the right material for you. 

Gold Filling

A gold filling is made mostly from gold, but may also contain other metals such as copper. They’re known for their strong durability and hard enamel-like wear which is perfect for supporting your damaged tooth. Although these fillings aren’t the most pleasing to look at, they do last longer than other types of fillings due to their incredible strength and durability. Gold fillings can last anywhere from 15-30 years.

Silver Amalgam Filling

Silver amalgam fillings are composed of various metals such as silver, copper, tin, and mercury. Although many people have become wary of these types of fillings due to the mercury found in them, they are considered completely safe by the American Dental Association (ADA). Compared to their gold counterpart, silver amalgam fillings provide a more modern look and are less expensive. Silver amalgam fillings typically last anywhere between 10-15 years.

Composite Resin Filling

Composite resin dental fillings are made from a combination of glass, plastic, and ceramic. Because of their striking resemblance to your tooth’s natural color, these fillings are extremely popular among most patients. They’re able to blend in with your tooth to appear more natural and less noticeable than other fillings. Composite fillings are usually used to fill small to medium-sized cavities and can last on average between 7 and 10 years.

Signs That You Need to Have Your Dental Fillings Replaced

Due to constant wear and tear, your dental fillings won’t last forever. Even a durable gold filling will only last between 15 and 30 years which means you’re going to have to have the filling replaced. Once fillings begin to wear away, chip, crack or even fall out, you’re at a greater risk for allowing harmful bacteria to attack the remaining part of the tooth. Also, it’s important to note that the size of your cavity will impact the longevity of your fillings. Smaller fillings tend to last longer since there is more healthy tooth left to hold onto. And larger fillings are going to require more dental work since there is more risk to the tooth. Take a look at some of the signs that mean it’s time to have those fillings replaced.

How to Care for a Cracked Tooth

Your Filling Falls Out 

This is an obvious sign that your filling needs to be replaced, however, you may not initially realize that you’ve lost your filling. Many people end up accidentally swallowing their filling because they don’t know what it is until it’s too late. Fortunately, the exposed nerve will likely let you know that something is wrong and you’ll feel noticeable pain in your mouth once this occurs. If this does happen, be sure to contact your Reno dentist right away.

Your Filling Wears Away

It can be difficult to notice if your filling is beginning to wear away. Some patients may never notice the indication that their filling is wearing down, which is why it’s so important to regularly visit your Reno dentist. They’ll be able to check on the progression of your filling and inform you of when it will need to be replaced by inspecting its current physical condition.

Your Filling Chips or Cracks

Other than gold fillings, your dental fillings are always susceptible to cracking and chipping. This sign may also go unnoticed because the filling will mostly likely remain in-tact until further damage causes the pieces to break off completely. However, sensitivity to temperature may indicate a problem with your filling and you should notify your dentist as soon as possible so they can repair the filling and prevent further damage to the tooth.

Connect with Your Reno Family Dentist

Despite the type of filling you have, it’s inevitable that it will eventually need to be replaced. Luckily, making regular visits with your Reno family dentist will ensure the quality of your oral hygiene and helps to increase the life of your filling. The best way to avoid needing a dental filling is to practice good oral health by brushing and flossing daily, and seeing your dentist on a regular basis. Connect with your Reno dentist today to schedule an appointment