Preserving the health of the teeth is important. While general dentistry services allow some patients to avoid dental complications all together, it is not at all unusual for patients to develop mild to moderate degrees of decay, or to experience an injury that results in mild trauma. In these cases, restorative dentistry treatments stabilize the affected tooth and restore oral strength and function. There are many restorative treatments to consider, but the most common procedure is placement of a dental filling. Dental fillings are formed directly to the tooth and replace healthy tooth structure that has been lost or damaged. At University Dental Arts, Dr. David Redford prefers to work with tooth-colored fillings. For our Denver patients, tooth-colored fillings offer a long lifespan and superior strength and durability.
How Long Do Tooth-colored Fillings Last?
As with any dental treatment, the lifespan of a tooth-colored filling will vary from patient to patient. Tooth-colored fillings are fabricated using a naturally strong composite and form a bond with the natural tooth, strengthening these restorations even further. Unlike metal fillings, tooth-colored fillings do not react to temperature variations and will not expand and contract, which can potentially cause damage to the natural teeth. For all of these reasons, tooth-colored fillings are considered superior to metal fillings in both strength and durability. On average, patients can expect a tooth-colored filling to last a minimum of 10 years, with many patients enjoying the benefits of these dental restorations for between 15 and 20 years. In general, smaller fillings tend to last longer, while larger fillings may eventually need to be replaced with a larger restoration, such as a dental crown. Still, despite the strength and durability of these restorations, and no matter the size, the lifespan of tooth-colored fillings will depend largely on how they are cared for.
Extending the Lifespan of Tooth-colored Fillings
Consistent and effective oral health care is vital to extending the lifespan of a tooth-colored filling. Tooth-colored fillings should be treated and cared for in the same way as the natural teeth, with regular brushing and flossing. It is also important to continue to schedule regular dental exams so that, if any complications do arise that threaten the structure of the dental filling, they can be addressed as early as possible. Aside from these oral hygiene practices, the following tips can help patients to maintain strong and functional tooth-colored fillings:
- Avoid exposing the teeth and fillings to excessive force or pressure (this includes avoiding hard, sticky foods and refraining from teeth grinding, clenching, or nail biting)
- Protect the teeth when playing sports or participating in athletic activities to avoid injury to the teeth
- If aware of teeth grinding or clenching, ask about a custom-fit mouth guard to be worn at night to protect the teeth
Schedule an Appointment
Tooth decay, no matter how minor, can threaten a person’s oral health if it is not treated in a timely manner. Tooth-colored fillings offer effective treatment for minor to moderate degrees of injury or decay without compromising the appearance of the smile. To learn more about these durable dental restorations, schedule an appointment with Dr. David Redford at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!