Is It Time to Replace Your Dental Filling?


Dental Patient O Fallon, IL When you have a cavity or minor area of damage within a tooth, a dental filling is often the means to repair it. While fillings can vary in material (amalgam versus composite), they all have a certain lifespan or finite period of time until they begin to fail. There is no concrete rule on how long you can personally expect your filling to last, but there are some warning signs that may suggest you need a replacement. Once your filling starts to fail, it is important to act promptly and make an appointment with your dentist.

In general, there are two types of fillings: silver amalgam and white composite. Determining which type you have in your mouth can give you more insight into what you can expect in terms of its lifespan.

Silver Fillings

Silver fillings, also known as amalgam or mercury fillings, were once the most popular choice in cavity repair. Therefore, many patients still have silver fillings in their mouth that have been there for several years. When it comes to silver fillings, you can generally expect them to last just over a decade. While silver fillings are incredible durable, many patients choose to have them replaced sooner than failure presents itself due to their unsightly appearance and the concern of mercury.  If it has been 10 to 15 years since you received your filling or if you start to notice pain or darkening around your filling, it is likely time for a replacement. The discoloration could indicate that your filling is leaking. Any pain or soreness when you bite down is often a clue that your filling is “giving” under pressure.

White Composite Fillings

White or tooth-colored fillings are made of composite resin. Composite is a more modern choice in filling material and one that blends seamlessly within your smile without a trace of metal content. While more aesthetically pleasing than silver fillings, current research still shows the lifespan of a composite filling just shorter than amalgam. Most white fillings last about 7-10 years but more recent advancements in filling manufacturing suggests that they may now last longer.

Pain is the most telltale sign that your white composite filling is failing, which can often be experienced as sudden sensitivity around the affected tooth when it comes in contact with extreme temperature or pressure. If the failing composite filling has progressed to cause inflammation of the tooth pulp, you may also suffer from a persistent toothache. Some patients have dark spots, teeth that feel rough and/or cracks when their composite filling needs replacement.

Are You Concerned Your Filling Is Failing?

Regardless of what type of filling you have or how much time has passed since you got your filling, if you notice symptoms of discoloration, sensitivity or pain around a dental filling, please contact Soft Touch Dentistry. We are qualified to replace fillings and even safely remove amalgam fillings if you want to upgrade to a more modern and aesthetically-pleasing option.

Soft Touch Dentistry

1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050