How Long Do Fillings Last?

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Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Lara Coseo
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Evidence Based
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7 sources cited
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Unfortunately, fillings do not last forever but they can last a long time — even decades. How long your fillings will last you depends on several factors like your oral hygiene, the size of the filling, the severity of your cavity, and the filling material.

Your dentist may choose one of three types of filling materials:

  1. Composite resins — Composite resins are the same color as your teeth and contain quartz or glass to protect small to mid-sized cavities for longer.
  2. Silver amalgam — Silver fillings are less expensive than composite resin fillings but they’re composed of silver, copper, mercury and tin. They’re durable, but they’re silver, which means you can see them.
  3. Gold — Gold fillings are composed of gold, copper, and other metals and look gold.
teeth with different types of dental crown

Composite Resin Fillings

Composite resin fillings will last for about seven to 10 years in healthy patients. However, some dentists estimate that they can last for even longer.

Porcelain Fillings

Porcelain fillings are a strong option among dental filling materials. They can last up to 15 years.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Glass ionomer fillings are typically used for cavities just below the gumline because they’re not strong enough to last in the part of the teeth patients use to chew. They can still last up to about 15 years.

Amalgam Fillings

Silver amalgam fillings can last for 10 to 15 years or more. These fillings are highly resistant to wear and tear, which is why they’ve been used for over 100 years.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings can last anywhere from 10 to 30 years. As metal fillings, they’re the most  durable filling material available. However, they are less commonly used in dentistry today because they do not blend in with your natural tooth color. 

Temporary Fillings

Temporary fillings are only meant to last about thirty days. These fillings are used as a short-term solution until a patient can have another type of filling procedure or oral treatment done. They help to prevent further decay by closing the cavity.

How to Help Fillings Last Longer 

Maintaining fillings requires the same kind of dental care that it takes to maintain your general oral health. Take care of your teeth and make your fillings last longer by following these tips:

  • Thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice per day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Maintain daily flossing
  • Limit your sugar intake
  • Stay away from sticky snacks
  • Reduce oral bacteria by rinsing your mouth with an alcohol-free, therapeutic mouth rinse
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Avoid acidic drinks like sodas and juices
  • Try not to bite down on hard foods
  • Practice good dental hygiene
  • Visit your dental twice a year(or as recommended) for check-ups and cleanings

Common Questions

How long do composite fillings last on front teeth vs back teeth?

Composite fillings to fix broken front teeth won’t last as long as other fillings to patch up cavities. Composite fillings should still last about 10 years and can often stay bonded to your natural teeth well beyond that. They will last longer on front teeth due to the lighter chewing forces they receive there versus the heavy forces on the back teeth.

How often do fillings need to be replaced?

Fillings can last years — sometimes even decades — with proper care. You might need to replace a filling if it falls out, cracks, or leaks. Fillings will also wear out over time, but how quickly this happens depends on factors like your oral hygiene, the size of the filling, the severity of your cavity, and the filling material.

How do you know when a filling needs replacing?

You will know that your filling needs to be replaced if it falls out, cracks, or leaks. You may be able to see the missing or cracked filling, or you may experience increased tooth sensitivity or feel a sharp pain when chewing food. You may not have any symptoms of a filling deteriorating, which is why it is important to have your dentist evaluate all of your existing fillings at your check-ups.

Are fillings permanent?

Fillings are not permanent but they can last you many years. If your fillings are done well and you keep up with your oral hygiene, your fillings may even last you decades.

How many fillings does the average person have?

The average American has three fillings. 25 percent of the population has 11 or more fillings.

Resources

Capstone Clintonville Dentist. “How Long Do Tooth Fillings Last?: Columbus Dentist.” Capstone Clintonville Dentist, 2 Dec. 2019, capstoneclintonville.com/blog/how-long-do-tooth-fillings-last/

Dentistry, Posted by Southview. “Case Study: Composite Front Teeth Repairs.” Southview Dentistry, 7 May 2020, www.southviewdentistrycharlotte.com/case-study-composite-fillings-front-teeth/

“Do Fillings Need to Be Replaced? Here's What You Need to Know.” Parker Dental Blog, 11 Oct. 2019, www.parkerdentalandortho.com/blog/do-fillings-need-to-be-replaced/

“Have More than Eight Dental Fillings? It Could Increase the Mercury Levels in Your Blood.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 27 Sept. 2016, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160927143042.htm

“How Long Do Fillings Last? Here's How to Tell If You Need Yours Replaced.” How Long Do Fillings Last? Here's How to Tell If You Need Yours Replaced: Saeid Badie, DDS: Cosmetic & General Dentistry, www.badiedental.com/blog/how-long-do-fillings-last-heres-how-to-tell-if-you-need-yours-replaced

Pleis, Posted by Donna, and Donna Pleis. “Dental Filling Care: How to Make Cavity Fillings Last.” Benefits Bridge, 11 Mar. 2018, benefitsbridge.unitedconcordia.com/dental-filling-care-how-to-make-cavity-fillings-last/.

“Root Canal Therapy.” (574) 232-5866 - About Root Canal Therapy at Risser Endodontics and Endodontic Services, Inc., www.endodonticservicesinc.com/about/root-canal-therapy/.

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