As a rule, fillings should last for several years, but many things can affect that prognosis. Brushing and flossing and maintaining good oral hygiene can extend the life of all fillings. The better the home care the longer every filling will last. Of course, we want to prevent getting decay in the first place.
What also determines the lifespan of a filling is the degree of tooth structure that is missing. The larger the filling, the greater the likelihood that a crown will be necessary at some point in the future. Large fillings can also increase the risk of fracturing the tooth, due to existing tooth structure has been compromised.
A small silver filling could last for decades, but most tooth colored fillings will fail within 10 years under good conditions.
Many silver fillings can last from 10-30 years if oral hygiene is maintained. On average, a silver filling will last 12.8 years.
Unfortunately, while tooth-colored (also called composite resin) fillings are more aesthetically pleasing than the silver amalgam fillings, there is a trade-off — they simply don’t last as long. Most tooth colored fillings will last on average of 5 years.
Technology is greatly improving and hopefully within the next few years we will see fillings lasting longer.
If you have any questions about your dental care, please ask your dentist.