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How Long Will My Dental Filling Last?

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.

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My Perio Protect Journey, Part 2
I arrived at the Western Dental office in Hawthorne, California for a dental check-up. Being a new patient and a member of the Western Dental Plan, my exam and x-rays were free of charge. The main purpose of my visit, though, was to begin the Perio Protect program. Dental appointments can give me a twinge of anxiety, but the staff at the office made me feel calm and welcome. The first step of the process was getting a thorough set of digital x-rays from a very friendly and efficient x-ray technician (I was done in about five minutes). They needed those to build my file and to make sure I didn’t have any hidden problems before starting Perio Protect. But all looked good. Next was a teeth cleaning. The hygienist went to work on my teeth, cleaning, polishing and checking the depth of the gum “pockets” around each tooth. Anything over 3 millimeters, she explained, indicated warning signs of possible periodontal disease, or at the least, gingivitis (a milder form of the disease). I checked out ok, except for a few “4’s” around the back molars. Her advice: give extra attention when brushing, and make sure to floss. And Perio Protect was definitely going to help. After a thorough exam by the dentist, a dental assistant prepped the trays used to take impressions of my upper and lower arches. (The impressions would be used to make the customized Perio Protect trays I would need for my home-care routine.) She filled the trays with impression material (kind of like soft Silly Putty), then placed the first tray over my upper teeth and held it in place for a few minutes while the material set. After repeating the process on my lower teeth and rinsing out remnants of the impression material, they had all they needed. My part was done, for now. The office would send the impressions to a lab to make my Perio Protect trays. I’ll be back in a few weeks to pick them up and get started with the program. Can’t wait to reap the benefits!
My Perio Protect Journey, Part 1
Perio Protect is a take-home dental care treatment that prevents gum disease (with the added, long-term benefits of killing bacteria, freshening breath and whitening teeth). A Perio Protect kit consists of two light-weight dental trays made of a soft, pliable material that fit snugly over upper and lower teeth. Each tray is filled with a small amount of Perio Protect gel and worn for 15 minutes each day. The following describes one patient’s experience. Everyone loves the feel of a clean, fresh mouth. So when I heard how Perio Protect could maintain healthy gums and guarantee fresh breath by killing bacteria, I wanted to learn more. Being in the dental business, I was invited to attend a training session for dental hygienists that highlighted how Perio Protect works and the benefits of the treatment. By wearing customized trays filled with a small amount of Perio Protect Gel for 15 minutes each day, powerful medication is delivered deep below the gum line, reaching every possible nook and cranny where bacteria hide and multiply. Its clinical benefit is in the prevention and treatment of gum disease, but Perio Protect also alleviates swollen, sensitive or bleeding gums, maintains fresh breath and restores overall oral health. Over time, the mild concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the gel whitens teeth. Even though I’m meticulous about my oral hygiene, I learned what I was missing with my toothbrush, rinses and floss. I got a lot more detail than I needed, but enough to make me schedule an appointment the next day. I’ll report back after my visit. Stay tuned…