Fillings – Know your options.

Treatment that will last

How long do fillings last? I suppose I could answer ‘How long is a piece of string?’ Blue Sky Dental only use the best materials and equipment to ensure the success and longevity of your treatment. Great care is taken during treatment but how long the filling will last you is difficult to say.

Different materials will last you a different amount of time. The material used depends on the locality of the filling and the size of the cavity or surface being filled. Once you have a filling you want it to last you a long time, you do not want the inconvenience of returning to the practice to have it redone, whether this is a few days or even a few years after the original treatment. So what are your filling options?

Once your dentist has decided a filling is necessary you will be given the filling options for that particular tooth.  In some cases no options are available, only one filling material is suitable.  In majority of cases you will given a few options to choose from.  Your dentist will advise which is best for you but ultimately it will be your decision.

Types of Fillings

Not all fillings materials are available on the NHS, but you should be given all options.

  • Glass Ionomer – a tooth coloured material, usually placed on surfaces that will have no contact with other teeth.  Not a strong material as it gradually wears away.  Also has the benefit of containing Fluoride which is slowly released into the tooth.  Longevity is approximately 2-5 years.
  • Amalgam – a strong material which has been widely used for years.  Silver in colour which darkens over time.  Health concerns regarding this material are constantly being raised due to its mercury content.  Doesn’t bond to teeth, requires undercuts to hold the filling in place meaning more tooth structure has to be removed.  Amalgam fillings have been known to last 15-20 years plus.
  • Composite – available in virtually all tooth shades.  More aesthetically pleasing than amalgam fillings but not as long lasting.  Material is bonded to the tooth but may chip away over time depending on the locality of the filling.  You can expect the filling to last approximately 5-10 years.
  • Porcelain Inlay – this is a laboratory made filling.  As it is made from porcelain, once bonded to the tooth is incredibly strong.  Like composite it can be matched to any tooth shade, making your tooth look good as new, like it had never had treatment.  You can expect an Inlay to last you 10-15 years or more.
  • Porcelain Onlay – this treatment is carried out when a large surface needs to be filled and part of the tooth crown is no longer there.  Just like an Inlay, it is laboratory made and available in all shades.  You can expect an Onlay to last you 10-15 years or more.

Remember the longevity of these filling materials are approximated.  There is really no telling how long they will last but hopefully carried out with top quality materials using the best and latest equipment, will help your fillings last you a very long time!

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