Your dentist in Martinsburg uses dental fillings to repair an area of tooth decay and keep any damage from progressing. This type of restoration is incredibly common, so common that over 90% of American adults have had a cavity, and we’re willing to bet that most of them were repaired with a filling. However, even though dental fillings are super-strong and durable, the truth is they simply don’t last forever. So just how long can you expect a filling to last?
How long you can expect your filling to last depends on a few factors, such as what it’s made out of and how well you care for your teeth. For example, those who brush and floss regularly and see their dentist in Martinsburg twice a year will most likely have a longer run with fillings (and other types of restorations) than those who don’t. But, when it comes to the material used for a filling, it can get a bit more complicated.
Silver, or amalgam, fillings were more commonly used a few years ago than they are now, but they may still have their place. These types of fillings are one of the most durable available and are expected to last around 10-15 years. But not everyone likes the way they look. Silver fillings are more visible than their composite counterparts and can create a discolored, darkened smile.
There has also been an increase in concern regarding the level of mercury in the material used. If this is something that worries you, we encourage you to talk with a dentist in Martinsburg.
Composite fillings, also known as tooth-colored or white fillings, are by far the most popular type of filling today. This is probably because they’re designed to match the color of neighboring teeth and blend into your smile. Many times, nobody even knows a filling is there! But like everything else, there is a small downside. Composite fillings, while still strong and durable, are estimated to last 7-10 years compared to silver fillings’ 10-15 years.
Since we now know that fillings don’t last forever, how will you know when one needs to be replaced? Many times, patients will experience increased pain or sensitivity in the area of a filling. Most fillings are worn down naturally by everyday habits such as chewing and speaking. But it’s also important that your dentist uses the right type of filling for your specific needs. Talk to your dentist in Martinsburg about your options so you can make the best choice for yourself.