When a cavity starts to damage a tooth, a dentist will often want to remove the decay and fill the gap with another material, known as a filling. A filling preserves most of the original tooth, restoring its strength and preventing further decay from getting in. If it’s time for your child to get their first filling, learn more about the different materials and how to care for these crucial dental restorations.
The Average Life of Fillings
How long a filling lasts largely depends on the type of material used. Silver amalgam fillings are one of the most popular options; they are comprised of various metals and will last from 10 to 15 years.
Gold fillings are known for their strength and durability and will last the longest, ranging anywhere from 15 to 30 years.
Porcelain fillings are a ceramic material with powerful stain-resistant properties; they will last for seven years or more. This is also the general life span of composite resin fillings, which are made of a compound containing porcelain and plastic.
Factors That Affect Lifespan
Size is one of the most important factors that can impact how long a filling lasts, as smaller fillings often last longer.
The location of the filling plays a role as well. If, for instance, it’s located in an area of the mouth where one tends to chew harder or more frequently, the filling may wear down faster.
Also, if a child grinds or clenches their teeth, the life of their fillings could be compromised.
Signs Your Child Needs a Replacement Filling
A worn-out filling may fall out, which will expose the tooth and make it susceptible to another cavity.
An increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures can also signal the need for a replacement; this can mean the filling has cracked, loosened, or started to leak.
Tips for Caring for a Filling
To get the most out a filling, your child should practice good oral hygiene and cavity prevention. Brush and floss twice a day. Rinse with a therapeutic mouthwash. Minimize consumption of sugary foods, especially overly sticky sweets. See a dentist for preventative dental exams every six months and follow their oral health recommendations.
When your child needs a filling for a cavity, visit Pediatric Dentistry Kahala. With more than two decades of experience, Dr. Allen K. Hirai serves young patients throughout the Honolulu, HI, area with exams, preventative treatments, fillings, sealants, and other dentistry services. He and his team provide professional, patient-centered care in a fun, kid-friendly environment. Call (808) 737-0076 to schedule an appointment, or visit their website for a full list of services.