How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

dental sealants

One infamous misconception people have is that once they have their cavity filled, the restoration is permanent and they never have to worry about it anymore. Unfortunately, this is not the case because dental fillings are not permanent.

The duration of dental filling lies in the kind of material used for the restoration procedure. Some materials have a longer lifespan compared to others, while some have side benefits besides their longevity. The material type, the location of the tooth, and proper oral hygiene are important factors that contribute to the life cycle of the dental filling.


Also known as silver fillings, there are several advantages to getting amalgam fillings. They are sturdy, long lasting, and can endure significant wear and tear. Their typical lifespan is between 10 – 15 years and are excellent choices for filling up decayed parts of the tooth.

They have their drawbacks too. These filling are usually conspicuous and may taint a perfect smile. There has also been increasing concerns over the amount of mercury in the material. If any of these bother you, have a conversation with the dentist to discuss possible alternatives.


These are the most prevalent type of fillings. Composite fillings are white and can adopt the tooth’s color. Made to blend easily with the teeth, they are practically invisible. Composite fillings typically need minimal drilling, meaning a larger portion of your teeth will still be intact after the procedure.

Although they have a better appearance unlike amalgam filling, they may not be the best choice when it comes to durability. Composite fillings do not have a long lifespan and should last about seven to ten years on the average. Regardless, they are remarkably stable and have a high success rate in most cases.


Due to the stress we put our teeth through, the dental material degenerates as time passes. As it deteriorates, the efficiency of the restoration reduces compared how it was initially.

If the patient fails to ensure the proper oral health, fresh decay may occur on the previous dental filling or the areas around the filling, thus necessitating another dental procedure. Multiple restorations reduce the quality and strength of the original filling. In some cases, the dentist may cover the tooth with a crown or cap to increase the lifespan of the filling.

Another factor responsible for the short-term life expectancy of dental filling is trauma to the tooth due to sports injuries or accident. Bruxism or teeth grinding can also degrade the filling.


The dentist will advise you on the best choice of dental fillings, considering the amount of decay and your personal preferences.

A regular dentist appointment is also essential because it will help the dentist detect issues with dental fillings early enough to make necessary corrections. Since you may not be able to tell when the restoration is failing, the dentist has the tools and expertise to examine defective dental fillings.

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