It’s hard to imagine a world without dental fillings. With estimates suggesting that 92% of American adults between ages 20-64 have dental caries, tooth fillings have become a modern-day necessity for preventing tooth loss.
However, like all dental treatments, fillings don’t last forever. Chewing and grinding wears down fillings over time. In some cases, tooth decay can occur underneath the filling. From the staff at Trusty Dental, here’s a breakdown of when you may need to replace your fillings.
Signs that you may benefit from replacing your fillings
The lifespan of your fillings depends on your eating and chewing habits, as well as the type of tooth restoration.
Amalgam or silver fillings tend to last longer, but they’re less aesthetically pleasing and are only used on the back teeth. You can expect your amalgam fillings to last between 5 and 25 years and your composite fillings to last between 5 and 15 years.
In the early phases of filling failure, there are no symptoms. Your best bet is to get regular dental check-ups. Dental decay can occur beneath the filling, and this type of decay is only visible on an x-ray. Aside from ordering an x-ray to check the state of an older filling, our staff at Trusty Dental may also look for spots and irregularities in the filling.
With older fillings, you may notice pressure or pain when eating and sensitivity to hot or cold foods. You may even notice small pieces of the filling in your mouth, which is a sign that the filling needs to be replaced immediately.
Tooth-colored fillings can get stained. So if you see your tooth-colored fillings darkening, it doesn’t necessarily mean the fillings are damaged. However, you can have the filling replaced if the darkened filling presents cosmetic concerns.
Other reasons to remove old fillings
Patients who have amalgam fillings or silver fillings sometimes opt to have them replaced with composite fillings due to the following reasons:
- The mercury in amalgam fillings contracts and expands when exposed to temperature changes, causing long-term damage to the tooth.
- Silver fillings are noticeable, whereas composite fillings are tooth-colored.
- Allergic reactions can occur due to the materials used in the fillings.
According to the American Dental Association, dental amalgams are a safe option for dental restorations. The amount of mercury that leaks during the placement and the removal of the fillings is too small to cause any issues.
However, if you experience any adverse effects, you can opt to have your amalgam fillings removed.
Get a comprehensive dental consultation
Regular check-ups are the not-so-secret recipe to a pearly-white smile. Our dental providers at Trusty Dental can take a look at your old fillings and determine whether or not they’re in good condition.
During your consultation, you can also find out if you have any hidden carries, misalignments, or other dental issues. Contact us to schedule an appointment and have all your dental needs taken care of by our expert staff.