Dental fillings can last a long time with good care. Gold, silver, and ceramic fillings can last fifteen years or longer. Glass ionomer and composite fillings may not last as long as other materials, but again, good care can extend their lifespan. If you need to get dental fillings, here are some tips to help you extend the life of these restorations.  

Ask Your Dentist About Bioactive glass for New Fillings

Bioactive glass is made up of compounds such as calcium oxide, silicon oxide, and phosphorus oxide. One study found that bioactive glass can help to replace minerals that have been lost to decay. Bioactive glass also inhibits that growth of cavity-causing bacteria around a filling. Since certain materials, like composite, have shorter lifespans than other materials, it may be worth it to ask your dentist to use bioactive glass mixtures in your restorations.

Wear a Mouthguard at Night for Bruxism

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a real dental issue. If it is left unchecked, it can contribute to TMJ disorders, headaches, facial pain, and even enamel loss. If you grind your teeth enough, it can actually expose the underlying root which can lead to tooth sensitivity and decay. If you have any fillings, they can have premature wear from bruxism. In short, it's important to wear a mouthguard or any other type of splint that your dentist recommends. A mouthguard may not completely stop the grinding movement, but it will act as a shield and keep opposing teeth from wear.

Curb Bad Habits Like Chewing on Ice, Fingernails, Pens, Etc.

Some people chew on pens or pencils out of anxiety or even to relieve TMJ pain. However, this habit can worsen any existing bruxism and damage fillings. Some people may chew on their fingernails due to anxiety or stress but doing so can spread germs from your hands to your mouth. These germs can contribute to decay and the breakdown of fillings. If you like to chew on ice cubes, you should visit your doctor to see if there is an underlying problem as ice cravings could indicate conditions like anemia, dehydration, OCD, etc. Using sugar-free gum is a great way to ease off of these bad habits. Sugar-free gum stimulates saliva flow and is much less damaging to fillings.

Maintain Healthy Dental Habits

Dental fillings last longer when you practice healthy habits. For instance, you should be brushing and flossing daily and following your dentist's recommendations for visits. Some people may only need to see their dentist once a year for a cleaning, but some patients—like those with gingivitis—may need more frequent cleanings or even deep cleaning like scaling and root planing. Although fillings do correct decay, the materials can still be vulnerable to the wrong foods, such as sticky/hard foods or foods high in sugar. If your fillings are breaking down, it may be worth it to take a look at your diet.

Reach out to a restorative dentistry service in your area for more information.