Dental Fillings Candidacy

Do You Need a Dental Filling?

When tooth decay strikes, dental fillings can be a valuable restorative option. However, not everyone may need or qualify for dental fillings. At your initial appointment, Dr. Frank Kuzmin will evaluate your oral health to determine if dental fillings are right for you.

If you’re suffering from a sensitive or painful tooth, contact our Farmington, CT, dental practice today by calling (860) 470-3660.

are you a candidate for dental fillings?

Factors That Affect Candidacy

Our Farmington dentist will evaluate the following to determine if a dental filling is the best treatment option: 

  1. Extent of Tooth Decay: If the decay is minimal and only affects the outer layers of the tooth, a dental filling is typically sufficient. However, if the decay has progressed extensively and reached the inner layers, other restorative options, like dental crowns or root canal therapy, may be necessary.
  2. Tooth Stability: Dental fillings require a solid and stable tooth structure to support the filling material. If the tooth is severely weakened or has substantial damage, it may not be able to retain a filling. In such cases, alternative treatments may be recommended.
  3. Oral Hygiene: Good oral hygiene practices are essential for the success of dental fillings. Candidates for fillings should be committed to maintaining proper oral care, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups. Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to further decay and compromise the longevity of the filling.
  4. Allergies or Sensitivities: Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to certain filling materials, such as amalgam (silver fillings) or resin-based composite (tooth-colored fillings). If you have known allergies or sensitivities, your dentist will consider alternative filling materials that are suitable for your needs.
  5. Overall Dental Health: Candidates for dental fillings should have generally good dental health. If you have other oral health issues, such as gum disease or untreated tooth infections, these conditions may need to be addressed before considering fillings.

couple smiling while in an alley

How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

On average, dental fillings can last anywhere from five to 15 years. The lifespan of dental fillings varies depending on various factors, including the type of filling material used, oral hygiene practices, diet, chewing habits, and the location and size of the filling. 

Amalgam fillings are known for their durability and can last up to 10 to 15 years or even longer in some cases. Composite fillings have improved significantly over the years and can last around five to 10 years with proper care. Ceramic and gold fillings are highly durable and can last for 10 to 15 years or more.

Factors that Affect How Long a Dental Filling Lasts

Several factors can influence the lifespan of dental fillings, including:

  • Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and regular dental check-ups, is crucial for the longevity of dental fillings. Poor oral hygiene can lead to recurrent decay around the filling, compromising its integrity.
  • Diet: A diet high in sugar and acidic foods and beverages can increase the risk of decay around fillings. Limiting sugary snacks and drinks and maintaining a balanced diet can help preserve the lifespan of fillings.
  • Chewing Habits: Habits like teeth grinding (bruxism) and clenching can exert excessive force on dental fillings, leading to their failure. The use of a night guard or mouthguard can help protect the fillings and extend their lifespan.
  • Size and Location of Fillings: The size and location of the filling can influence its durability. Fillings in high-stress areas, such as molars used for chewing, may wear down faster than those in other areas of the mouth.
  • Professional Maintenance: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential for monitoring the condition of fillings and identifying any signs of deterioration or decay to promote optimal oral health.

When to Replace Dental Fillings

While dental fillings can last for many years, they may need to be replaced earlier if certain issues arise:

  • Recurrent Decay: If decay develops around a filling, it may need to be replaced to remove the decayed portion and restore the tooth’s integrity.
  • Fracture or Wear: Fillings can chip, crack, or wear down over time, leading to an uneven surface or exposed tooth structure. In such cases, the filling may need to be replaced to prevent further damage.
  • Cracked or Chipped Teeth: Dental fillings may also need to be replaced if they are used to repair cracked or chipped teeth, as this helps restore the tooth’s structure and prevent further decay.
  • Aesthetics: If you have composite fillings and desire a more natural appearance, you may opt for replacement with newer composite materials that match your tooth color.
  • Sensitivity or Discomfort: If a filling causes persistent sensitivity or discomfort, it may indicate a problem beneath the filling, and a replacement may be necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Make an Informed Choice at Pinnacle Dental

Dental fillings are a valuable treatment option for tooth decay, but not everyone qualifies as a candidate. Contacting our Farmington dentist is essential to assess candidacy and determine the most suitable treatment. By prioritizing oral health and seeking timely dental care, individuals can maintain a healthy smile and prevent further dental issues. 

Contact Pinnacle Dental at (860) 470-3660 to determine if you need a dental filling. We’re proud to serve patients living in Plainville, New Britain, Hartford, and Newington, CT!