In my last two articles, I addressed the length of time that White (Composite or Tooth-Colored) fillings last and the length of time that Silver (Amalgam) fillings last.
In this article, I simply wish to summarize the results and show a graph comparing the length of time that you can expect your fillings to last.
Amalgam (Silver) Fillings Last Longest
Amalgam fillings tend to last around 12 years, while a composite filling only lasts about 6 years.
Here is a graph that shows the percentage of remaining fillings after a certain amount of years. It has been constructed using the data from Chadwick B, Dummer P, Dunstan F , et al. The Longevity of Dental Restorations.
Does This Mean Amalgam Fillings Are Better?
No. Amalgam fillings are less costly and generally last longer, but they aren’t very aesthetic. Most people don’t want everyone to see a big chunk of silver on their teeth when they smile. As a general rule, composite fillings are usually best for the front teeth that most people will see. For teeth in the back, the stronger, long-lasting amalgam fillings are usually recommended.