Anyone with a dental filling will find themselves having to replace it eventually. While fillings can last up to twenty years, many factors contribute to a dental restoration’s longevity. Fillings have a limited period of use before they start to fail, so it’s essential to know the signs of a failing filling so it can be replaced before further damage occurs.
Types of Dental Fillings
Selecting a filling material that works best for you should involve some consideration, as this is going to be the main determining factor behind how long your filling will last. When deciding on what type of material your dentist should use for your new filling, always take into consideration:
- The appearance of the material and if you will be able to see the filling visually
- The durability of the material
- The longevity
- The cost of that particular solution
Here are the most commonly used materials for dental restorations.
This material will look the most natural and blend in with the surrounding teeth. With proper care, resin fillings can last patients a very long time but may need to be replaced every 7-10 years, depending on your oral care.
The average silver filling lasts around 15 years. These filings are common, but they are also the most likely to stand out in the mouth since the silver color looks nothing like natural tooth enamel.
This type of filling is the most expensive but can also last the longest, up to 30 years, before needing to be replaced. In many cases, gold fillings will last for, on average, 15 years.
Extending the Life of Restorative Dentistry Work
With a bit of effort from you, your dental work can last as long as possible.
Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene
Caring for your teeth and gums without fillings is just as important as caring for those with them. Brushing and flossing twice per day, for two full minutes, is an excellent step in protecting your teeth and keeping them in great condition. Always use a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Eating and drinking foods that are good for your teeth and not likely to cause erosion or damage is a healthy and simple way of protecting your investment. Avoiding soda, acidic, sugary, and processed foods will help reduce the amount of plaque that forms on your teeth, which leads to tooth decay.
Pain Relief After Dental Treatments
After a dental filling, there are a few helpful tips you can do following your appointment to relieve any pain and discomfort you may be feeling. One of the most common reasons you may experience pain after a dental filling may be because the filling itself is too high. Contact your dentist about having the filling smoothed or reshaped if things don’t feel quite right.
It’s also typical to experience some pain in the teeth besides the tooth that received the filling. Most of the time, the tooth with the new filling is just passing along signals to the neighboring teeth, and this type of pain should decrease within one to two weeks.
If you’re experiencing any physical discomfort, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever after a dental filling to help in relieving any discomfort.
Foods To Avoid After Getting a Filling
It’s best to avoid any hard, chewy, or sticky foods after receiving a dental filling for up to two weeks. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, you may also benefit from avoiding hot or cold drinks and foods. There is no need to wait to brush your teeth after a dental filling, and you should continue to brush twice a day and floss once a day.
Filling Care In the Years Ahead
While dental fillings are an effective treatment for tooth decay, they rarely last forever. That being said, you can significantly increase the longevity of your fillings if you understand the value of dental filling care and proper oral hygiene.
Help your fillings last by:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Limit sugary, sticky snacks
- Use an alcohol-free mouth rinse to reduce oral bacteria
- Don’t use tobacco products
- Opt for water over-acidic drinks like sodas and juices
Seeing your dentist twice a year for routine cleanings and exams will help keep your fillings and other healthy teeth in great shape. Schedule an exam with Tompkins Dental today if it’s been a while since you’ve had your fillings checked.