Dr. Mark Bohnert, DDS of Southeast Family Dental in Indianapolis, Indiana answers a common patient question: How long should a filling last?

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Hi this is Dr. Mark Bohnert from Southeast Family Dental. Today I’m going to talk about a common question that we get from our patients and that’s how long a filling would last. And that’s totally based on, number one, the size of the filling, the location of the filling and how well you take care of that filling.

If the tooth requires a small filling, typically you can expect that to last anywhere from 20 to 40 years without any problem. As it gets larger and the area of where that is, more and more work that’s placed on that tooth, the chances of that type of longevity is decreased. At times, the decision should be made to place a crown or a cap on that tooth that would maximize the lifespan of that restoration.

One factor that’s never really brought in to play though is also how well the patient takes care of their mouth. Many times we can place a beautiful restoration that is exactly what we look for and then six months later at the next cleaning appointment, the patient is not taking care of their mouth and there is decay that has started elsewhere. So there can be decay that starts around a tooth that has been filled but if it’s not maintained by the patient, that is where that would come from.

Sometimes I compare that to changing the oil in your car. If you don’t change the oil in the car on a regular basis, there will be a problem that develops later. Same thing with a filling. You have to take care of it and you have to have it monitored and it will last for a long time.

If you have any other questions, please give us a call. The number is 317-359-8000. This is Dr. Mark Bohnert from Southeast Family Dental.