Wednesday, November 14, 2018

White Fillings - How Long Will They Last ?

When considering dental restoration or repair, a common question asked by our current and prospective clients is “How long do white fillings last?"
However, although we have many clients with long-life white fillings; the answer is - it depends. 

While early research has shown that the average tooth – coloured filling lasts for a minimum of five years, our experience has shown there are many things both the dentist & the patient can do to extend the life of a white filling beyond that to ten years or more.
Continued below you will find a range of practical recommendations for increasing the longevity of your dental restoration work.

The Lifespan of A Filling

The lifetime of a filling is partly determined by choice of material used to fill the cavity. Is it silver or a white filling, porcelain or gold? There are advantages for differing filling types, where they are used, and the dental care and maintenance you provide that can all affect the life expectancy of a dental filling.

Is A White Filling Better Than Silver?

Composite or white fillings have become the preferred choice of dental filling material, are recommended by our staff and considered to be stronger, safer and more durable than traditional amalgam fillings.
At Milford Dentists, we have been amalgam free for all restoration work since 1999, and believe there is no advantage, (but instead a distinct disadvantage), to using dental silver amalgam vs. composite resins for reasons of durability

Why Choose White Fillings?

Our clients find tooth-coloured (or composite resin) fillings with their white tooth-like appearance, more aesthetically pleasing than silver amalgam fillings, and the adhesive nature of composite fillings allows us to perform what is termed "minimally invasive" dentistry enabling you to retain more of your original teeth.
New to Milford dentists? Discuss your personal dental history before deciding what is most effective & appropriate for you. Contact us here

What Is A White Filling

These are the very popular white, tooth coloured fillings for restoration and treating decay that blend seamlessly into your smile, making the dental work almost invisible. They are an incredibly strong, successful treatment for most cavities.
Because of the materials that Milford Dentists white (composite) fillings are made from, they bond to your tooth tissue from the inside, strengthening your teeth and providing them with additional support for many years.
Composite fillings cavities are smaller than a comparative amalgam cavity. This is because composite resin fillings are bonded into the cavity whereas amalgam filling, generally, is mechanically retained and the cavity needs undercuts and retention locks prepared into the hole to keep the mercury amalgam from falling out.This means less tooth structure is removed ie less drilling, when placing a white filling than when placing an amalgam filling. Once bonded, the composite filling does not change shape over time and will wear at a similar rate to your own tooth, keeping your dental repair stable and secure

Making Your White Fillings Last Longer

While many factors affect the longevity of fillings, remember that generally, all fillings will last longer if you take care of your oral hygiene with daily brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups.
The many factors for white filling longevity can include
• Filling Size
• Filling Location (On The Tooth Surface)
• Filling Location (In The Mouth)
• Clenching & Grinding
• Existing Dental Damage Or Issues
• Diet & Drinks
• Oral Hygiene
• Filling Materials Used
• Effective Dental Techniques
Filling Size
An important consideration for a white filling is, will the placing of the composite restoration be suitable for its application? Smaller fillings will generally last longer than a large filling because there are fewer issues that can occur, although, with continuing improvements in the composition of bonding materials, this is becoming less of consideration.

Clenching and Grinding

Do you clench or grind your teeth? If so, you may have more problems with your fillings. The additional forces placed on your teeth from grinding or clenching can lead to tooth sensitivity and extra wear on your fillings. These actions can also cause your fillings to crack or develop tiny vertical cracks (craze lines) in your teeth.


Delays in oral healing and increased likelihood of gum disease cause considerably higher possibility of dental issues and failure of tooth restorations. If you are a smoker and are considering quitting – talk to us to see how we can help.

Dietary choices

Do you regularly drink carbonated or other high sugar drinks? These beverages you should be avoided or the frequency you have them decreased along with highly acidic things like, e.g., Grapefruit juice or apple cider vinegar gargles - using these regularly can damage the tooth enamel by dissolving it, increasing the possibility of problems occurring around your fillings.

Effective Dental techniques

Placing bonded restorations is very technique sensitive – so it is important your dentist use best practice standards and technique for long-life results for your fillings. The tooth requires proper isolation during the procedure, and composite restorations need a specific environment in which to be placed - completely saliva (moisture) free and dry when the resin material is being applied and cured. 

Do Composite Fillings Last A Lifetime Or Can They?

According to early findings, like from this small Belgian study, composite fillings can last between five and seven years on average, yet other recent larger reviews such as Opdam (2010) and Kim (2013) indicate 10 - 11 years.
With correct procedures and proper care and maintenance by you, we can significantly improve the lifespan of your white fillings. Also as new techniques, technology & materials are developed to extend the lifetime of all our dental procedures, we expect the longevity of tooth coloured fillings to continue to be extended.
So if you are considering a white filling, contact Milford Dentists to learn more or schedule a visit today. We will check out your dental history, discuss your treatment options, and get you back on track towards optimal oral health <  > with a brand new bright, white smile.

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