As homeowners across the planet know all too well, nothing lasts forever. However, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), a dental filling, also known as a dental restoration, should last “many years.” Exactly how long? That’s the million dollar question.
Simple stress from years of daily eating affects your teeth. Clenching and grinding your teeth can accelerate wear, causing fillings to fail. Poor oral hygiene can cause decay to set in if there’s a slight crack in the filling. Other failure factors include trauma from sports injuries or even chewing on fingernails!
It used to be that, if you needed a filling, you’d get metal amalgam, composed of copper, tin, silver, and mercury which combined to form a strong material. These fillings are still great for their function but aren’t very attractive. While amalgam is still viable, we frequently recommend composite resin, tooth-colored fillings which not only provide durability and strength but are more aesthetically appealing.
Williamsburg Dental will not normally suggest replacing amalgam fillings unless you are experiencing signs of decay, cracks or have actually lost a filling. Despite some controversy, continued research shows no conclusive evidence that the mercury in amalgam fillings makes the filling unsafe. However, if you’re considering proactively replacing older fillings, or wish to enhance your smile appearance, replacement is certainly an option. We’d probably starting with the “smile zone” fillings that are most noticeable as well as the larger, older fillings first which may be more likely to fail.