How Long Do Dental Fillings Last? Complete Guide

Dental Fillings

How Long Do Dental Fillings Last? Complete Guide

Dental fillings are essential for treating cavities and protecting teeth from further decay. Many people wonder how long their fillings will last and what factors affect their longevity. This article will give you detailed information on how long different types of fillings last. It will also give tips to make them last as long as possible.

Understanding Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are materials used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. The process involves removing the decayed part of the tooth and filling the hole with a suitable material. Fillings restore the tooth’s function and prevent further decay. There are various types of fillings, each with its own lifespan and characteristics.

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Types of Dental Fillings and Their Longevity

Amalgam Fillings:

Amalgam fillings are also known as silver fillings. They are made from a mix of metals, including silver, copper, and mercury. They are durable and can last up to 15 years or more. However, their dark colour makes them more noticeable, especially in front teeth.

Composite Fillings:

Composite fillings are made from a mixture of acrylic and ceramic resins. They are popular because they can be matched to the colour of your natural teeth. Composite fillings last around 7 to 10 years, but with good care, they can last even longer.

Porcelain Fillings:

They are also known as ceramic fillings. They are custom-made in a dental lab to match your tooth’s shape and color. They are more expensive but can last between 10 and 20 years. Porcelain fillings are highly aesthetic and resistant to staining.

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Glass Ionomer Fillings:

Glass ionomer fillings are made from a mixture of glass and acrylic. They are not as durable as other types and are usually used for small cavities or areas near the gum line. These fillings last about 5 to 7 years.

Factors Affecting the Longevity of Fillings

The lifespan of a dental filling depends on several factors, including:

Oral Hygiene:

Good oral hygiene is crucial for the longevity of your fillings. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using mouthwash can prevent decay around the fillings.


A healthy diet can significantly impact the durability of your fillings. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, as they can lead to cavities and weaken your fillings. Hard foods, like nuts and candies, can also cause damage.

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Grinding and Clenching:

Teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism, can wear down fillings faster. If you grind your teeth at night, consider using a mouthguard.

Regular Dental Checkups:

Regular dental checkups help monitor the condition of your fillings. Dentists can detect early signs of wear and tear and recommend timely replacements.

When to Replace Fillings

Over time, fillings can crack, wear down, or fall out. Regular dental visits are essential to check for these issues. Signs that you may need to replace a filling include:

  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods
  • Visible cracks or gaps around the filling
  • Pain or discomfort in the filled tooth
  • The filling falling out

Your dentist can use tools like X-rays to determine if a filling needs replacement.

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Tips to Extend the Life of Your Fillings

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene:

Brush and floss regularly to keep your mouth clean and prevent decay around the fillings.

Avoid Hard and Sticky Foods:

Hard foods can crack fillings, while sticky foods can pull them out. Opt for softer, healthier options.

Use a Mouthguard:

If you grind your teeth, use a mouthguard at night to protect your fillings.

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Regular Dental Visits:

Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. They can detect issues early and recommend solutions.

Alternatives to Traditional Fillings

While traditional fillings are common, there are alternatives worth considering:

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF):

SDF is an antibiotic liquid applied to teeth with decay. It can prevent further decay but may not be suitable for extensive cavities.

Root Canal Therapy:

For severe decay, a root canal may be necessary. This involves removing the infected pulp and filling the space with a rubbery material.

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Crowns and Veneers:

For extensive damage, crowns or veneers may be an option. They cover the damaged tooth and restore its function and appearance.


Dental fillings are a crucial part of maintaining oral health. While they don’t last forever, proper care can extend their lifespan significantly. Amalgam fillings can last up to 15 years, composite fillings 7 to 10 years, porcelain fillings 10 to 20 years, and glass ionomer fillings 5 to 7 years. Factors like oral hygiene, diet, and regular dental visits play a significant role in the longevity of your fillings.

Trust Old Town Dental Care for Your Dental Needs

At Old Town Dental Care, we are committed to providing top-quality dental services, including fillings that stand the test of time. Our experienced team ensures you receive the best care and advice tailored to your unique dental needs. Ready to maintain or improve your oral health? Contact Old Town Dental Care today to schedule your appointment and learn more about our comprehensive dental services. Your smile deserves the best care – call us now!

Frequently Asked Question

How long do composite fillings last?

Composite fillings typically last 7 to 10 years. With good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups, they can last even longer.

Can fillings fall out?

Yes, fillings can fall out due to wear and tear, decay around the filling, or trauma to the tooth. Regular dental visits help detect issues early.

Do fillings hurt to get?

Most fillings are done under local anesthesia, so you shouldn’t feel pain during the procedure. Some discomfort may occur after the numbness wears off.

What should I avoid eating with fillings?

Avoid hard and sticky foods like nuts, candies, and chewing gum. These can damage or dislodge your fillings.

How often should I check my fillings?

You should get regular dental checkups. Get them ideally every six months. They are key to monitor your fillings and overall oral health.