When you have a cavity, your dentist will clean it out and fill the hole to protect the tooth from future decay. Such dental fillings are designed to be durable, but they don’t last forever. Learn when it’s time to get a new filling and how you can take proper care of the new one with this helpful guide.
Why They Fail
Though made of durable materials, fillings undergo a lot of stress. Chewing food every day places a lot of force on them, which eventually leads to deterioration. This will occur more quickly if you often grind or clench your teeth. They may also wear out quicker if you neglect daily oral hygiene or smoke.
When to Replace Them
A filling's life span depends on its material. Resin fillings last about 10 years, while silver’s life span is closer to 15. Gold fillings may last for 30 years.
You likely won’t notice any changes as the filling approaches the end of its life span, but your dentist will. X-rays will show them any cracks or worn spots in the material as well as any decay occurring underneath the filling.
It’s best to have the filling replaced at this point before it causes discomfort or falls out completely. Once the filling fails, you may experience toothaches that get worse when chewing or consuming hot or cold food.
How to Care for the New Filling
If you habitually clench or grind your teeth, your dentist can create a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth at night.
Avoid eating hard or chewy foods that can crack the filling, such as nuts or toffee.
Keep your teeth as healthy as possible with proper at-home oral hygiene and by visiting your dentist for a cleaning every six months.
Stephen R. Ho, DDS, can tell whether you need to replace your dental fillings. This dental office in Honolulu, HI, is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to provide general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Ho has more than 30 years of experience, and he’s available to assist with dental emergencies as well. Learn more about the services offered online, and call (808) 949-4288 to schedule an appointment.