Most Americans have had or will have at least one cavity in their lifetime. In fact, the CDC estimates that about 90% of U.S. adults have already had a cavity. When patients develop a cavity, often the best way to fix it is with a dental filling. Most dental offices will have one or two types of fillings available, white or silver. But which type of filling lasts the longest? Let your dentist in Cary help.
Dental Fillings: 101
Dental fillings are a common treatment that can help save a natural tooth from the damaging effects of decay. When a tooth starts to decay, your dentist in Cary can usually quickly and easily remove the decay and fill the area with a filling, protecting your tooth from additional decay and the need for more treatment. However, the downside to fillings is that they don’t last forever and may need to be replaced. But how quickly they’ll need to be replaced depends on what they’re made out of.
The most common type of dental filling is a composite filling, also known as a tooth-colored filling because it’s designed to match the color of your other teeth for a seamless restoration. Many patients prefer this type of filling since it’s pretty undetectable and allows a smile to remain bright and white. However, while incredibly tough, composite fillings are estimated to last anywhere between 7-12 years. If you take excellent care of your teeth and see your dentist in Cary regularly, there’s a good chance your filling will last longer.
Amalgam fillings, or silver fillings, are less common nowadays but may still be used for certain situations. These types of fillings do tend to last longer than composite fillings, around 10-15 years, but do come along with some potential negatives. Many people dislike how silver fillings darken the appearance of teeth and may choose composite fillings whenever possible. Additionally, there have been some increased concerns regarding the level of mercury in amalgam fillings. We always recommend talking with your dentist about any concerns you have about any treatments before proceeding.
Why Don’t Fillings Last a Lifetime?
Even though it would be great if fillings would last forever, the truth is, their lifespan is limited. While both types of fillings are durable and incredibly strong, they still need to withstand the pressure we put on our teeth every single day. Usually, most fillings need to be replaced simply because of regular wear and tear. This may be marked by increased sensitivity or pain in the area of restoration.
Any type of cavity or worn-down filling isn’t something you should wait to get treated. It’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Cary sooner rather than later before the issue becomes more serious.