“Will it hurt?” “How long will it take?” “What should I expect when getting a filling?” These are all questions we typically get asked before filling a cavity for a patient. And while they’re great questions, there’s one we wish we’d get to answer more and it’s, “Will the filling last forever?” So all of us at our Mobile, Fairhope, Bay Minette, Helena, and Semmes dental offices figured we’d ask it and answer it all in one place for everyone.

Dental fillings are a great way to keep your natural teeth healthy by closing in and protecting any decay that may have occurred. There are several types of fillings that are made out of different materials. It’s these materials that determine how long your cavity filling should last. And unfortunately, no, it’s not forever.

White Fillings

More commonly becoming the preferred treatment for cavities, white fillings, also known as tooth-colored or composite fillings, are a great way to make your restorations virtually invisible. Your dentist will closely match the filling material to neighboring teeth, making it look like there’s nothing there but a healthy, natural tooth. On the downside, the expected lifespan of tooth-colored fillings is the lowest of all restoration options at about 7-10 years, depending on the location of the filling and your oral health habits. However, it’s still one of the most viable, trusted options for treating cavities.  

Silver Fillings

Silver or amalgam fillings are another option for treating a cavity. They do last longer than a tooth-colored one, usually about 10-15 years, but there are some aspects to them that many patients find unattractive. Not only can these restorations cause teeth to look gray, dingy, and discolored, they also usually require more of the undamaged tooth to be removed for application. What’s more, there has been a rise in concern about the mercury levels in amalgam fillings. If you’re worried about the mercury content or have questions about the safety of these fillings, ask our Mobile, Fairhope, Bay Minette, Helena, or Semmes dental office. We’ll be happy to help.

Gold Fillings

These fillings aren’t incredibly popular anymore, but they are still in use and a viable option. While cast gold fillings typically last 15 years or more, which is longer than any other filling discussed, the cost for them is typically higher than other options. There’s also the aesthetic concern with the obviousness of the gold color.

If you think you may have a cavity, don’t wait to get it checked out. Any treatment is better than no treatment, and can actually save your tooth. Don’t have a dentist? Give one of our dental offices in Mobile, Fairhope, Bay Minette, Helena, or Semmes a call today!

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