Dental fillings last for years but are not permanent. Gold fillings typically last for 15-30 years, silver-amalgam fillings usually last for 10-15 years, and composite resin fillings last for 7-10 years. However, you can take some steps to make your fillings last longer. With the right care, your fillings can last decades.
Caring for dental fillings
Fillings are similar to natural teeth. People must care for them to make them last. Oral hygiene, a healthy diet, proper protection, avoiding bad habits and regular dental visits help people keep their fillings for longer than average. Get the details on how to make fillings last.
Brush and floss daily
People need to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine each day. They should brush the teeth two times a day with a soft-bristled brush. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and use tooth-wide strokes to remove bacteria and decay. Scrub the biting surfaces of the teeth next. This process should take two minutes.
Floss the teeth at least once a day. Get 18-inches of floss and wind most of it around both middle fingers, so 1-2 inches of floss remains. Hold it with a thumb and index finger and slide it between the teeth. Pull the floss out to remove the debris.
Eat the right foods
Acidic and sugary foods and beverages can cause the teeth to erode. This does not just harm unfilled teeth. Tooth erosion on filled teeth can cause the fillings to fall out. Then the dentist must remove the old filling and the decay before placing a new one. Patients lose additional tooth structure if this happens. Eating a diet full of healthy foods is an easy way to avoid this problem.
Protect the filling from grinding
People who suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding) should wear a mouthguard at night. The mouthguard protects the filling and the natural teeth from the force of the grinding. Dentists can customize mouthguards to fit patients. Dentists take impressions of the teeth and then fabricate the mouthguard.
Avoid bad habits
Patients who drink excessively or smoke are more likely to have issues with fillings. Smokers should begin a cessation program immediately. Heavy drinkers need to cut down or stop. An occasional drink is OK, but consuming too much alcohol can cause the filling to break down.
Visit the dentist regularly
Regular dental visits are also important when caring for fillings. Dentists and hygienists remove the bacteria, plaque and tartar from the teeth holding the fillings. Dentists also examine the fillings to ensure they still fit properly. If the filling begins to leak, the dentist can even add additional composite resin to protect the tooth.
Protect your dental fillings
The length of time your dental fillings last depends on the material you choose and how you care for the restoration. Regardless of the material, brush and floss daily, avoid sugary and acidic foods and beverages and wear a mouthguard if you grind your teeth. Also, stop smoking and only drink alcohol in moderation. Finally, visit the dentist regularly.
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