Dental restorations, or fillings, are made to withstand the force of chewing and biting and can to last 5-15 years, depending on what type of material they are made from. Composite resin fillings typically last up to five years, whereas cast gold fillings can last longer than 15 years.
Fillings are made from a variety of materials, composite resin, porcelain, silver amalgam, cast gold and even glass ionomer, and this material determines the longevity of your filling. Over time your fillings eventually wear down, or they may chip or crack, and could fall out completely.
Fillings can often be repaired if the damage is not serious enough for replacement. Sometimes a filling may leak or crack, allowing oral debris like food particles and bacteria, to enter the area beneath the filling. Because you can’t clean this area under a filling, bacteria will produce acid from feeding on food particles. This can lead to tooth decay if it isn’t repaired, and can go on for a while since you may not notice it if there is no pain. This is where having regular dental checkups can spot the problem even before you do.
It is also possible for a dental filling to fall out after biting down too hard on something, or perhaps the filling wasn’t strong enough for the tooth it was placed on, especially if it was a large filling. Or, it may not have bonded correctly to the tooth because saliva seeped into the cavity during the restoration process.
A filling may also crack from biting if the filling is placed higher than the tooth’s surface. Cracks can also occur around the edges of the filling, and this can just mean a filling repair instead of replacing the entire filling. Bruxism, or the constant tooth grinding while you sleep, can also wear down fillings over time.
As always, dental checkups and cleanings help spot problems while they are in the earliest, easiest and most economical stage of repair. If you are experiencing a problem with a dental filling, don’t hesitate to come in and have it treated as soon as possible! To schedule your next dental visit with Dr. Christine Lee you can call our Simple Smiles Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry team in Woodstock, Georgia at 770.592.7000 today.