Dental fillings are a very common and important dental procedure because they restore teeth that have been damaged by decay. They strengthen teeth from the inside, providing support and returning them to normal function. Treating a tooth with a filling prevents further damage from occurring. Tooth-colored fillings are a popular option when it comes to dental treatments.
Although metal fillings are quite durable, they come with the risk of potentially causing cracks in teeth and they are very noticeable in one’s smile. Composite fillings, on the other hand, are made of durable materials designed to withstand the pressures of biting and chewing and are very effective at treating cavities. Once bonded to the teeth, they do not change shape over time and will wear at a similar rate to natural teeth. How long a filling can last depends on the material used and on how well they are cared for.
Some factors that may determine the longevity of a filling include how large it is, its location, existing dental problems (such as gum disease), and whether or not the patient tends to grind or clench their teeth on a regular basis. Clenching and grinding can put pressure on teeth and fillings, causing the fillings to crack or develop tiny vertical lines in the teeth. In general, smaller fillings will last longer than larger ones. However, with advancements always being made in the composition of bonding materials, size has become less important as a factor. Dental hygiene habits also affect the longevity of a dental filling. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits all play a part in extending the life of dental fillings. Keeping them clean and healthy will help them to stay stronger for longer.