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How Long Do Tooth-Colored Fillings Last?

July 22, 2022
Posted By: Anderson Family Dental

Most of us will get at least one cavity in our lifetimes. If you have a cavity, your dentist will recommend a tooth-colored filling to repair it. There are many benefits to the composite resin materials used for these fillings. 

One is their longevity, as tooth-colored fillings have been shown to last 7–10 years. Your dentist places only tooth-colored fillings in Winter Park, FL, because of their benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings?

While silver amalgam fillings have been popular for decades, composite resin restorations have become the material of choice worldwide. Their popularity is mainly due to their aesthetic properties and their similar appearance to tooth enamel. 

Tooth-colored fillings are a combination of materials, which is why dentists refer to them as composites. The mix includes powdered glass, quartz, silica, or other ceramic particles added to a resin base. 

Because these elements have a translucent appearance similar to tooth enamel and come in a wide range of customizable shades, your dentist can create a nearly-invisible repair. 

Another significant advantage of composite fillings is their ability to create a secure bond with enamel. This minimizes the amount of tooth structure that needs to be removed and strengthens the tooth. 

How Does a Tooth Cavity Form?

When bacteria in your mouth combine with carbohydrates like sugar, they produce acid that eats away at tooth enamel and gradually creates a hole in the tooth called a cavity. To repair the tooth, your dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth and fill the hole with a tooth-colored filling. 

However, improper dental care can wear down the filling, break its seal with the tooth, and allow a cavity to develop under the filling. This is called recurrent decay; to treat it, your dentist must remove the original filling, remove the decay, and replace it with a new one.

How to Avoid Cavities and Make Your Fillings Last Longer

The success of any dental restoration (the clinical term for tooth fillings) depends on the individual and their oral health habits. The best dental filling is no dental filling, of course, and it begins with prevention. Whether you've never had a tooth filling or have several, excellent brushing, flossing, and routine teeth cleanings can benefit you.

Excellent Oral Hygiene Habits

Good oral hygiene habits include brushing at least twice daily and flossing once. Your daily oral hygiene routine adds up to less than 10 minutes, and it is time extremely well-spent!

  • Brushing: Your goal is to brush for two minutes at each session (morning and evening) by spending 30 seconds on each quadrant.
  • Flossing: You're doing a thorough job flossing if it takes 2–3 minutes daily.

Use fluoride toothpaste, and remember to change your toothbrush every 3–4 months or when the bristles become worn and frayed. Mouthwash can effectively reduce bacteria and plaque formation but is not a substitute for brushing and flossing.

Routine Dental Exams and Teeth Cleanings

Professional teeth cleanings go hand in hand with your at-home oral hygiene because you can't remove every trace of plaque with your brush and floss. You also can't remove hardened plaque called tartar or calculus.

During each cleaning, your hygienist uses specialized instruments to remove cavity-causing plaque and tartar. The number of cleanings you require annually depends on your needs; some patients need only one per year, while others may require as many as three or four per year.

Dental exams are also crucial because your dentist checks for signs of cavities and ensures your tooth fillings and other dental work are in good condition.

A Nutritious Diet Supports Excellent Oral Health 

You already know the benefits a healthy diet offers for your general health and well-being. It's important to remember that eating healthy, nutritious foods also benefits your oral health.

Limiting your intake of sugary foods and carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, pasta) helps limit the amount of acid in your mouth that causes cavities.

Custom Mouthguards Minimize Teeth Grinding

Teeth exert significant force when you grind or clench or clench them. Also called bruxism, teeth grinding can wear down your teeth and damage fillings, crowns, and bridges. Unfortunately, the heaviest grinding occurs during sleep, so many people aren't aware they are doing it.

Your dentist can look at the wear on your teeth and tell if you grind your teeth. If so, they will create a custom nightguard that acts as a buffer between your upper and lower teeth. The guard does not stop teeth grinding but does an excellent job of preventing teeth from coming into contact and absorbing the excess force.

Avoid Biting Down on Hard Foods or Objects

Tooth fillings can break with too much force, so never use your teeth as tools or to open packages. Also, avoid hard candy and sticky foods like gummies that can loosen or pull out the filling. 

Do You Need Tooth-Colored Fillings in Winter Park, FL?

At Anderson Family Dental, we are pleased to welcome new patients of all ages. If you think you have a cavity and need a filling, please contact our Winter Park dental office to schedule a convenient appointment.

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