Dental fillings can last for a long time provided you take good care of them. There are many factors that affect the longevity of dental fillings.

Like everything else in the world, dental fillings come with an expiry date. Nothing can last forever, but with a little care and maintenance, dental fillings can last for a long time. Dental fillings will need to be replaced over time. Regular dental check-ups will ensure that you get enough time before they fall out.

Usually on an average, dental fillings last for 10 years or more, and in some cases less. Among the materials that are used for dental fillings, amalgam lasts longest after gold. Amalgam lasts for 15 years, followed by ceramic, around 15 years, composite around 7 years and glass ionomer around 5 years. Amalgam and composite fillings are most common among all the dental fillings.

Common dental filling materials

Some of the most used dental fillings include the following.

Gold dental fillings

Gold fillings are most expensive among all the other popular fillings. As the price of gold is high compared to other metal, the dental filling made of gold is expensive as well.

These fillings are most durable and last for more than 20 years. Some people prefer gold dental fillings because of its glamour and how it stands out, but many people these days do not like the obvious colour which does not match with other teeth of the patient.

Amalgam dental fillings

These are also known as silver fillings. Amalgam fillings are a mixture of a few elements and is composed of silver, mercury, copper and tin. Amalgam fillings has been used for more than a century be dentists. This filling is least expensive among all fillings and is very durable.

It may last for 15 years or more on an average, depending on the patient and his lifestyle habits which may add or take away 5 years.

The mercury in the amalgam filling presents a risk of toxic reaction when filled in people who may develop symptoms of toxicity in the blood. Pregnant and breast-feeding mothers should not opt for amalgam fillings. People with kidney and neurological problems should also avoid having their cavities filled with amalgam. People with and allergy to mercury will surely avoid amalgam dental fillings.

Composite dental fillings

This is also a popular choice among patients who need to fill their dental cavities with fillings. These fillings are made with acrylic and ceramic resins – same materials that are used in repairing chipped or injured tooth- which allows for matching the colour of the dental fillings with the teeth of patient.

Composite fillings are bonded with the inside of the tooth with a dental adhesive and may last for 7 years on an average but can last longer if they are taken good care of by the patient by following a good dental care routine.

Porcelain fillings

Porcelain dental fillings are also a choice among people who are looking for aesthetic value of the fillings along with its functional values. These are hard material and resemble the natural teeth in addition to its quality of being matched to the colour of the natural teeth they are used for. They are very expensive as much as or more than gold fillings. They are made to order in the lab and are placed into the tooth with the help of food grade adhesive.

Glass ionomer dental fillings

These are made with glass and acrylic which are made into the lab by order and has to be placed into the tooth and glued in place. These are not very durable and can be used for smaller cavities near the gums, because they are delicate and cannot take a lot of pressure of chewing every day. The usually last for 5 years or a little more.

Can dental fillings fall out?

Yes, they can fall out. You should take care of it, and it will continue to serve you for a long time, but if you neglect it and do not look after its cleanliness and maintenance, it will fall out.

Dental fillings may fall out or wear out during your lifetime and you may have to get a replacement for the same.

When your dental filling wears out or develop cracks in it, or falls out, it exposes your tooth to decay and infection. Dental fillings do not proclaim the damage to them immediately. But if you visit your dentist regularly once or twice a year, he should be able to tell you the need for a replacement filling.

The dentist explores the area around the filling to make sure that it is still stuck to the tooth and is in place. They will also check for infection and decay by checking for black spots on and around the restored tooth. If the tooth has black spots, indicating there is bacterial infection then he will suggest a replacement of dental filling. If you have soreness or pain in or around the restored tooth, ask for an appointment with the dentist rather than wait for the scheduled meeting.

Why do dental fillings fail to last longer?

Eating habits

The more the sugary food in your diet, more the chances of your dental filling falling out or wear out. Sugar in the food has a habit of sticking in your mouth and teeth. A thin layer of film develops on it called plaque which encourages bacteria to cause cavities on the affected tooth.

Chewing on a hard food like sticky candy or ice cubes increases the chances of your filling get dismantled. Refrain from eating gummy candies, or other sticky foods, which may cause the filling to be pulled out.

Composite fillings get stained like natural teeth with red wine, tea and coffee and such colouring foods.


If you have the habit of grinding your teeth in sleep, your dental felling cannot take the pressure and may come loose and fall out.

Life style habits

If you consume a lot of alcohol or drugs, or if you take tobacco in any for, it will affect the life of dental filling.

Oral Hygiene

Lack of good oral habits cause the dental filling to allow the decay to seep in and get the tooth infected again.


Dental fillings are one of the most common treatments in dentistry. They can be used to repair a tooth that has been damaged by decay or trauma, and they can also be used as a preventive measure for teeth at increased risk for cavities.

In this day and age there is so much more we know about dental fillings than ever before which gives patients peace of mind knowing their dentist will only use materials with proven benefits over time such as resins, porcelain, composite resin, glass ionomers etc. that offer strength and durability while maintaining natural looking results with minimal sensitivity issues.