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When a tooth decays to the point that you’ve developed a cavity, there’s a good chance that you’ll be getting a filling in the near future. Fillings are great for preventing further damage and allowing you to live a more normal life without worrying so much about your teeth. That doesn’t mean that anything is a go though. Dental fillings are meant to last for years, but there are some things that can shorten their lifespan.

Temperature Fluctuations

Going from hot food or drink to something cold or vice versa in rapid succession can be uncomfortable even if you don’t have dental fillings. If you do have dental fillings, doing so risks damaging both the fillings and the teeth that hold them. This is because the changes in temperature can cause fillings, particularly amalgam fillings, to expand and contract. If done repeatedly, this can cause the filling to come loose or even crack the tooth. 

Pressure

Pressure is another force that can shorten the lifespan of your dental filling. It could come from clenching or grinding your teeth or the force you exert when you bite food, particularly if whatever you’re eating is hard. Both can result in the fillings fracturing, cracking, and becoming damaged over time. If you notice that you clench or grind your teeth, practice relaxing your jaw and consider getting a mouthguard to wear at night. Chew your food carefully and practice eating mindfully.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Remember how the point of getting the filling in the first place was to address tooth decay? The filling addressed a specific point of decay, but if you fail to practice good oral hygiene, you’re bound to end up with more tooth decay. This can spell trouble if the decay is in the area around your filling. You could wind up with a loose filling in addition to more severe decay.

No one wants to deal with having to replace a filling sooner than is absolutely necessary. That’s exactly what can happen if you expose them to significant temperature fluctuations or high volumes of pressure and don’t take care of your teeth. Remember, the whole point of having the filling in the first place is to protect your teeth from further damage. It only makes sense to avoid damaging behaviors.

Different types of fillings can be a better option for some people than others. Learn more here: Understanding the Different Types of Fillings.