How Often Should I Replace Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings are used to effectively treat cavities and tooth decay. Unfortunately, they do not last forever, as there is constant pressure and abrasion applied to them by chewing food, talking, and some habits like teeth grinding. Eventually, they will wear out, and you will need to have your dental fillings replaced. If some time has passed since you got your fillings, you might be wondering: “How often should I replace dental fillings?” In this article, we will answer this question and talk about the signs that your fillings are due for replacement.

How Often Should I Replace Dental Fillings?

The material that was used for your dental fillings will influence the amount of time they will last. For example, one of the most popular materials for fillings—tooth-colored composite resin—lasts for about 7 to 10 years on average. Silver amalgam is a bit more durable and can last for up to 15 years. The less popular material for fillings today is gold due to the fact that it is very noticeable in the mouth when speaking or smiling. However, gold is extremely durable and can last for up to 30 years in some cases.

Regardless of the material your dental fillings are made of, very important factors in their longevity are oral hygiene and lifestyle habits. If you maintain thorough oral hygiene and visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings and checkups, your dental fillings will last longer.

Why Do I Need to Replace My Fillings

Old dental fillings can become loose or cracked, exposing the tooth to further damage and leading to tooth decay and even tooth loss if not treated in time. If the filling is not in the tack, food residue, bacteria, and plaque will get trapped between the filling and the tooth. It is almost impossible to clean them out with just a toothbrush at home. This means that the dental filling has to be replaced as soon as possible to save the tooth.

Sings That Your Dental Fillings Have to Be Replaced

Needless to say, the best judge of your oral health condition is your dentist. During routine checkups, they can evaluate the condition of your dental fillings and spot any issues that can lead to potential complications. Thus, if you have had your fillings for a while now, sign up for an appointment to have a professional opinion. However, there are signs that your fillings are due to be replaced that you can notice yourself:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
  • Pain in the tooth in question (this might signify tooth decay)
  • Your filling fell out (this is considered a dental emergency and requires immediate treatment) or physically damaged (for example, cracked)
  • You can sense a bad smell from your mouth (it can be a sign of tooth decay under the damaged filling because food particles and bacteria get trapped under the damaged filling )
  • Your dental filling became discolored (this can be a sign of corrosion of the filling material)
  • You have had a facial trauma that might have impacted your teeth, making your fillings loose.

If you have had other oral health issues like gum disease, it is best to check if your fillings are still in good condition.

How to Make Dental Fillings Last Longer

First and foremost in making your dental fillings last longer is to maintain sufficient overall oral hygiene and to have good lifestyle habits:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss your teeth every evening to get rid of food particles and bacteria lingering in between your teeth.
  • Consider using water floss to help remove the plaque from the gumline and places you can not reach otherwise.
  • Try to avoid acidic foods and beverages that can cause erosion of dental fillings and teeth enamel.
  • Avoid hard and crunchy foods (popcorn seeds, crackers, etc.) that can physically damage your dental fillings and your teeth.
  • Do not use your teeth as tools to prevent damage to your teeth and fillings as well.
  • Try not to grind your teeth to reduce the pressure applied to your dental fillings.

Schedule checkups and cleanings with your dentist every 6 to 12 months to maintain good oral health and to spot all potential issues before they become serious.

Visit Our Office

Make an appointment at Dentist Mission Viejo today if you have any concerns regarding your dental fillings. Our highly qualified doctors will carefully examine your teeth and determine if any further treatment or dental filling replacement is needed. We also provide emergency dental services if your dental filling falls out. We are looking forward to your visit.

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