The common treatment for a cavity is a dental filling which, in most cases, replaces the decaying portion of a tooth and inhibits further deterioration.
But how long does a dental filling last? The question of the life expectancy of a filling doesn’t get asked often, perhaps because most people just assume it lasts a lifetime. The lifespan of a dental filling is dependent on a number of factors, such as the type of filling used, the size of filling required and, most importantly, your level of dental care and maintenance.
The passage of time is a big factor affecting anything material, including dental fillings. So, it’s important to understand that dental fillings may not last forever. Some types of dental fillings more durable than others.
The different types of dental fillings:
1. Composite fillings: Also called white fillings, they are quite common and have the advantage of appearing as the same color as your teeth, giving your teeth a more natural appearance. Composite fillings contain quartz which provide durability. Nevertheless, composite fillings have the least life expectancy; on average they can last 7-10 years.
2. Silver fillings: Commonly known as amalgam fillings, silver fillings are quite rugged as they can withstand everyday wear and tear. They have their own shortcomings, like being highly visible, which can be a drawback for many. Silver fillings have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
3. Gold fillings: Gold is a very valuable and expensive commodity and you can expect it for fillings as well. Gold fillings can cost up to 10 times more than the silver fillings, and just like silver fillings are very visible. You can expect a gold filling to last from 15 years to as long as 30 years.
If you have a cavity and you’re wondering which kind of filling would be best for you, talk to your dentist, who will explain the pros and cons of treatment and discuss your options with you.