How Long do Tooth Fillings Last | Dental Excel Blog

How Long Do Tooth Fillings Last?

How Long do Tooth Fillings Last | Dental Excel BlogThere is a widespread assumption that once a tooth cavity is filled by your dentist, the tooth fillings will last forever. This is a common myth, as the lifespan of a filling remains largely dependent upon the material that is used to fill the tooth. Other factors include the care you give your teeth every day as a part of your dental hygiene routine, and which teeth have been filled.

When do you need tooth fillings?

During a routine check-up at the dentist, your teeth will be examined for general health and condition. An experienced dentist is able to tell from the examination which teeth need to be filled or treated, if any, and will advise during the appointment about the different types of fillings available to suit your particular circumstances.

The most common reasons for patients needing tooth fillings are:

  • The appearance of a cavity, either in its early stages or ‘full-blown’.
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Worn teeth, which can happen if the patient grinds their teeth or bites their nails.

What types of tooth fillings are available?

Historically and most commonly, tooth fillings were made from a silver amalgam substance, made up of a mixture of silver, zinc, copper, tin and mercury. Although this type of filling is still widely available, many dental professionals are looking to the latest materials for filling teeth to suit a patient’s individual requirements.

Modern dental filling materials include the use of:

  • Gold
  • Porcelain
  • Composite resin
  • Glass ionomer
  • Plastic

Which types of fillings last the longest?

The longevity of tooth fillings varies, and as previously mentioned, depend also on the care given to the teeth during a daily routine of brushing and flossing, and which teeth are filled – whether they are large or small teeth, and their position in the mouth.

Some types of fillings are unsuitable for certain groups of people, such as those with an allergy, for example, to the minute amounts of mercury present in amalgam fillings. Your dentist will be able to recommend the type of filling that best suits your needs, right down to budgetary requirements.

Let’s take a look at each type of modern tooth filling material to compare longevity expectations and advantages:

Gold fillings

Gold fillings can be more costly than other types of filling, but often please patients that prefer the look of a gold filling to a silver one. Gold does not corrode, and is expected to last for at least 10-15 years, often much longer.

Composite resin fillings

Composite resin fillings match the colour of the tooth, making them less visible than gold or silver amalgam fillings. Composite resin fillings mean a little more time in the dentist chair for treatment, and are expected to last for around five years, although with dedicated care, can last for longer.

Glass ionomer fillings

These types of fillings are most commonly used in children and for dental work below the gumline. Although made from a weaker material, glass ionomer releases fluoride and can inhibit further decay of the tooth. The latest types of glass ionomer perform better than the older types, which had a life expectancy of five years or less.

Porcelain (or ceramic) fillings

The average life expectancy of porcelain fillings is more than 15 years, with a cost comparable to gold fillings.

Dental Excel dentists in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast are experienced in all types of dental tooth fillings, working with our patients closely to achieve oral health. We can advise our patients during a routine appointment about the best types of fillings to suit their personal taste and circumstances.

Contact us to make your family appointment today, and let us help you with friendly and professional advice, and top-class dentistry to make your fillings last.

Five Ways to Fight Bad Breath

Fighting Bad Breath | Dental Excel BlogAlmost everyone suffers with bad breath at some point in their lives, often caused by foods, smoking, certain medications or even crash dieting.

Some people simply have ‘morning breath’, which can easily be ‘cured’ by brushing and flossing, or with the use of a good mouthwash. Children and young adults often have days when their breath is bad-smelling, sometimes attributed to hormonal changes in the body.

Most cases of bad breath are temporary and mild, but sometimes can point to a more serious, underlying cause, particularly if the sufferer experiences it for a prolonged period.

Experiencing bad breath can place the sufferer in an awful position. It can be embarrassing, particularly if you work in an environment in close proximity to other people. Some sufferers are not even aware that their breath is bad. Not everyone is comfortable with telling someone they have bad breath, and those sufferers do not get the chance to receive treatment.

What is halitosis?

Halitosis is the medical term given with a clinical diagnosis of bad breath. Halitosis is not the same as ‘ordinary’ bad breath.

What causes halitosis?

The causes of halitosis can be wide-ranging, but the most common causes are:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Smoking
  • Gum disease
  • Low-carb diets or fasting
  • Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)
  • Medication
  • Alcoholism

What can you do to fight bad breath?

Visit the dentist

It is a good idea to find out what is happening in your body to cause bad breath before you can begin treating it, and the best way to do this is to visit your dentist. Don’t be shy! Your dentist or dental hygienist is specifically trained, and has seen many, many cases of bad breath in all guises before you.

Regular trips to your dentist for routine check-ups at least twice a year will ensure that any underlying issues can be spotted earlier and treated more effectively.

Improve dental hygiene routines

Often, poor dental hygiene is the root cause of breath smelling badly. Improve your dental hygiene routine by brushing and flossing at least twice a day, particularly after eating. Cleaning the tongue regularly can also help to improve your breath, as can the use of a good quality mouthwash.

Take a trip to your local dentist and ask them for tips and advice to help you.

Stop smoking

If you are a user of tobacco products, whether cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco, then you are at higher risk of contracting gum disease or other periodontal issues that can lead to bad breath.

Tobacco products can produce a foul smell of their own that can become offensive when breathed out. Smoking cessation improves oral health, and reduces the likelihood of Dry Mouth and halitosis.

Keep hydrated

Drinking water instead of coffee or tea can not only reduce occurrence of bad breath, but can also improve oral hygiene significantly. Keep your mouth moist and hydrated throughout the day for the best results.

Drinking green teas can also be beneficial, as they contain polyphenols that can help to reduce the sulphuric compounds present in the mouth and throat, subsequently reducing oral bacteria.

Avoid certain medications

If you suffer from halitosis, taking certain medications can exacerbate your condition. Although it can be difficult to avoid certain medications if you are unwell, speak to your GP about possible alternatives if you suffer with bad breath as a result of taking:

  • Antidepressants
  • Pain killers
  • Antihistamines
  • Products containing sodium lauryl sulphate
  • Diuretics

How Dental Excel can help you

Dental Excel in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast can help you if you are suffering with bad breath. We take a holistic approach to your oral hygiene, and are happy to discuss your condition with you, offering some real, practical advice that you can put into practice straightaway.

We strongly advocate the practice of taking regular oral health checks at your dentist. Your dentist or hygienist can be your closest friend and ally when you suffer with bad breath! Contact us today, and let us help you with your condition.