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Understanding the Durability of Composite Fillings
January 12, 2016  |  Dental Crown

Understanding the Durability of Composite Fillings

White fillings are designed to match the color of natural tooth enamel. It’s estimated that many patients opt for white dental fillings for cosmetic reasons and more importantly to avoid traditional metal amalgam, containing small amounts of mercury.

After removing the decayed area from the tooth, a composite resin is placed in the space and hardened using a special light. The filling is then shaped while matching it to the contours of your mouth so your bite - involving the upper and lower teeth is preserved. A composite filling when placed appear like your natural enamel.

The composite resin is less able to stand up to the pressure when chewing then silver amalgam, and tend to wear down more rapidly and are required to be replaced within five to eight years.

White composite fillings offer some advantage over amalgam. However, while a typical amalgam filling can sustain up to ten to fifteen years; they fail to last for long – usually about five to seven years. You can expect white fillings made of porcelain to last about the same amount of time as amalgam, but they are often quite expensive.

Why Fillings Require Replacement?

We all know how time can have an impact on dental work - dental materials wearing down, coming off, or falling out over time. This inconvenience also makes the process of restoration less effective compared to when it was first in place.

When secondary tooth decay materializes around the dental filling, it's a sign to have more dental work on the surface area surrounding the filling. You have a decision to make - choosing between a dental crown and a cap to be placed on that tooth to maximize the lifespan of the restoration.

Dental work won’t last for a long time owing largely to tooth injuries sustained during sports and dental problems such as teeth grinding. Such injuries also contribute to the damage on a dental filling and demands for the eventual replacement.


Yes, composite fillings can only last between five and years, on average. However, we can vouch that as technology improves composite fillings can be made to last longer than amalgam fillings as dental professional are researching on new methods of bonding composites to tooth surfaces.

In the meantime, remember to brush at least twice a day, and floss every day. Also, see your dentist and hygienist to keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime.