The Lifespan of Dental Fillings and When to Replace Them

Dentist Herndon The Lifespan of Dental Fillings

Fillings are a standard dental procedure for treating cavities and restoring damaged teeth. They are designed to last for many years, but eventually, they will need to be replaced. In this article, we will discuss the lifespan of fillings and what factors can affect their longevity.

Types of Fillings

Before discussing how long fillings last, it’s essential to understand the different types of fillings available. The most common types of fillings are amalgam and composite.

Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals, including silver, mercury, copper, and tin. Composite fillings, on the other hand, are made from a mix of plastic and glass.

Lifespan of Fillings

The lifespan of fillings can vary depending on several factors. Generally, amalgam fillings last longer than composite fillings, with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Composite fillings typically last between 5 to 10 years.

Factors Affecting Lifespan

Several factors can affect the lifespan of fillings. One of the most significant factors is the location of the filling. Fillings located in the back of the mouth tend to wear down faster than those in the front. This is because the back teeth are used more frequently for chewing and grinding food.

Another factor that can affect the lifespan of fillings is the patient’s oral hygiene habits. Patients who brush and floss regularly are less likely to develop cavities, which can weaken the filling and cause it to fail prematurely.

Other factors that can affect the fillings’ lifespan include the filling’s size, the material used, and the skill of the dentist who placed the filling.

When to Replace Fillings

It’s essential to have regular dental check-ups to monitor the health of your fillings. Your dentist can detect any signs of wear or damage and recommend when to replace the filling.

Some common signs that a filling needs to be replaced include:

  • Pain or sensitivity when biting down on a particular tooth
  • A visible crack or chip in the filling
  • The filling has become discolored or has changed shape
  • The filling has fallen out

Replacing Fillings

When a filling needs to be replaced, your dentist will remove the old filling and replace it with a new one. The process is relatively straightforward and can be completed in one dental visit.

Dental Implants as an Alternative

If a filling needs to be replaced multiple times or the tooth is severely damaged, your dentist may recommend an implant as an alternative. Dental implants are a long-lasting and durable solution for missing or damaged teeth.

A dental implant involves placing a metal post into the jawbone, which acts as a replacement for the tooth root. A crown is then attached to the post, which serves as a replacement for the missing tooth.

Implants are more costly than fillings, but they offer several benefits. They are a permanent solution, and they can last a lifetime with proper care. Additionally, dental implants are more natural-looking and feel more like natural teeth than fillings.


Fillings can last for many years, but eventually, they will need to be replaced. Factors such as the location of the filling, oral hygiene habits, and the material used can affect the lifespan of fillings. A dental implant may be recommended as an alternative if a filling needs to be replaced multiple times or if the tooth is severely damaged. Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining the health of your fillings and ensuring a healthy smile.

If you want to get fillings or dental implants in Herndon, turn to Galleria Dental Smiles. We offer restorative dentistry services to help you achieve a healthy and confident smile. Our experienced dental professionals will work with you to determine the best treatment option for your needs and preferences. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.