Whenever a patient is diagnosed with a cavity that needs a filling, it’s common that they’ll have several questions for their dentist in Sacramento. We’re often asked things like, “Does getting a filling hurt?”, “How long will it take?”, and “How long will it last?” Today, we want to tackle that last question regarding whether or not a filling will need to be replaced.
What’s a Filling?
First, let’s take a closer look at what a dental filling is and how it’s beneficial. When a tooth develops a cavity, one of the best ways to remove the decay and protect the tooth from more damage is a filling. Now, not all fillings are the same. In fact, there are several different types of filling material that may be used, and each one can be expected to last a different amount of time. To find out what the best filling material is for you, talk with your dentist in Sacramento.
Nowadays, many cavities are restored using white fillings. Also known as tooth-colored or composite fillings, these virtually invisible restorations are custom created by your dentist and are designed to closely match the color and shape of your other teeth. These types of fillings are super strong and withstand a lot. However, the cosmetic benefits of tooth-colored fillings do have a potential downside. Composite fillings are estimated to last anywhere between 7-12 years, depending on the area of the filling and your oral hygiene habits.
Another common material used for filling a cavity is silver or amalgam. These types of restorations typically last a little bit longer than white fillings, usually around 10-15 years, but many people choose to avoid these fillings if possible. Silver fillings can create a darker appearance, and there’s been an increase in concern about the mercury levels in amalgam fillings. We always recommend talking with your dentist in Sacramento about any concerns you have about any materials.
While gold fillings are less common these days, they may still be an option for some patients at some dental offices. A filling made of gold is the strongest, longest-lasting but will typically cost more than composite or silver. Additionally, while some people may really like the aesthetic look that comes with a gold filling, it may not be for everyone.
Why Would a Filling Need to be Replaced?
Our mouths help us do a lot of things every day, including eating and chewing. Over time, these daily habits can take a toll on dental fillings. This will require a replacement filling simply due to regular wear and tear. Other ways a filling can become damaged include accidents, biting on hard food, or if a composite filling becomes discolored.
If you’re experiencing pain or increased sensitivity in an area that already has a filling, don’t hesitate to get it looked at. Call your dentist in Sacramento as soon as you can to schedule a checkup.