What is Dental Filling?
A filling is the most common type of dental procedure. It is done to fill up the damage done to the tooth.
Cavities are seen to be a very common condition in the United States. About 90 percent of U.S adults aged 20-64 years have had a cavity.(1)
If you are amongst those who have got a filling done in a cavity a few years back or if you are going for a filling procedure, a common question strikes your mind. How long does a filling last?
How Long Do The Dental Fillings Last?
Tooth fillings are of different types and each type has a slightly different shelf life.
Also, well-placed filling, done by an experienced dentist can last for decades or more.
Different types of tooth filling are as follows:
The Longest-Lasting Tooth Fillings i.e. the Ceramic, Gold, And Glass Ionomer Tooth Filling
Ceramic tooth fillings due to their cost are not commonly picked up by people. They are made from porcelain and are extremely durable and can last for over 15 years and even more. These are more expensive than the gold filling.
Glass ionomer fillings are made from glass and acrylic and are used for filling below the gum line. They are engineered to release fluoride overtime. It is not as strong as other tooth filling materials and hence should not be used on the chewing surface of the teeth. If taken good care, these can last for up to 15 years.
Gold fillings are an extremely durable option, with its strength and durability being the biggest advantage. The disadvantage of gold filling is its cost and the numerous sittings required for it to fit properly.
If you want a filling to last for a decade or even more, the gold filling can be an option.
The Next Longest-Lasting Tooth Fillings Or The Amalgam Fillings(Silver Fillings)
Amalgam fillings are common and durable tooth fillings. They can withstand chewing pressure for decades. They are affordable and therefore many people opt for it.
They are used by the dentist for years, to fill up the cavity of back teeth.
Some people notice a greater amount of tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures after getting amalgam fillings. Also, sometimes amalgam fillings can discolor the surrounding teeth and cause cracks and fissures.
Shortest Lasting Tooth Fillings i.e. The Tooth-Colored Composite Filling
A composite filling is tooth-colored but has the shortest shelf life. With good care and regular checkups, they can last for decades.
Most patients prefer this filling over others as they match the existing tooth color. The advantage of the composite filling is that it chemically binds with the existing tooth structure and gives the affected tooth even more support. It can be as strong as amalgam filling and give a pleasing aesthetic result.
Dentists use this material to fills in the chips and gaps in the teeth.
How Long Does It Take For The Dental Filling To Set And Heal?
- The time taken by a dentist to fill the cavity depends on the type of filling used.
- Amalgam takes 24 hours to fully set. It is best to avoid hard food until the filling has fully set.
- Composite and glass ionomer fillings set in 1-2 layers taking about 2-20 seconds per layer.
- The ceramic filling is set immediately with the help of the dentist’s blue wavelength light.
- Most of the fillings heal quickly with no problem. The sensitivity of the tooth which comes over, as the effect of anesthesia fails, goes away in a day or so.
- Gold and amalgam fillings have a period of sensitivity for a few days and even weeks.
Dental fillings are a very common and not painful procedure. For a standard and uncomplicated filling, the procedure takes about an hour. Always talk to your dentist about the pros and cons of the filling material opted by you.