One of the nice things about white fillings is that they only require a tiny amount of your natural tooth to be removed. This keeps most of your natural tooth, which means the natural strength of your tooth or teeth is preserved. In addition to this, they can be matched to the color of your teeth so that no one will know you have a filling, like they would if you had metal amalgam fillings.
Two Types of White Fillings
To answer this question, we first have to understand that there are two types of “white” fillings. The most common an inexpensive form is the composite filling. Composite fillings use plastic to be flexible and ceramic for toughness. However, the result isn’t as durable as other forms of fillings. The other type of white filling is the ceramic filling, sometimes called a porcelain filling.
How Long Do Porcelain Fillings Last?
Porcelain fillings are highly durable. They have the lowest failure rates over the short-term and some of the highest survival rates over the long term in clinical studies. As we talked about in another blog, the survival rate for porcelain fillings is up to 88% at 27 years! That’s much better than amalgam fillings or composite fillings, which have a lower survival rate than that at five years!
How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?
Composite fillings offer many benefits. They’re inexpensive, and they can be placed quickly. They can also be placed in small cavities, which means that we preserve more of the natural tooth. And, of course, they can look natural. The tradeoff is that they don’t last as long. Over the first five years, composite fillings have a comparable survival rate to amalgam fillings. After that, they are more likely to fail. In general, we can expect composite fillings to last 10-12 years, although in some cases they can last much longer, even decades.
However, to make them last, you have to treat them right. Here’s how to help your composite fillings last.
Use Them in the Right Situation
First, make sure a composite filling is the right choice for your cavity. Composite fillings work best for small cavities, and that’s when they should be used. When used in this situation, they are more likely to last longer.
Care for Your Teeth
One of the most common causes of failure for all types of filling is secondary decay: cavities that occur a the edge of your filling. To prevent this, make sure you continue taking care of your teeth as best you can. Brush at least twice a day and floss every day.
Give up Tobacco and Alcohol
Tobacco and alcohol have been linked to early failure for composite fillings. If you’re a heavy smoker and/or drinker, you are setting your fillings up for failure. Cut back on smoking and drinking, and consider quitting smoking entirely.
Following these tips can help your filling be more likely to last a decade or more.
To find out more about the benefits of white fillings, please contact experienced cosmetic dentist Dr. Marzban in the Burke, Virginia area today.