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If you get a cavity in one of your teeth, your dentist is probably going to recommend getting a filling as soon as possible to ward off infection and shore up your tooth.

There are several different kinds of materials used for dental restorations, but the most common types of fillings are amalgam and composite (or composite resin).

Amalgam was the most widely used material for many years, but composite fillings have been growing in popularity for their combination of looks and durability. In this article, we’ll explain what composite fillings are, how long they last, and how safe they are.

What are composite fillings?

Composite fillings have a more natural appearance than other options. The composite material can be customized to match the shade of your tooth, so they’re almost unnoticeable to anyone who glances at your mouth.

But what is that tooth-colored material? It’s a mixture of plastic (acrylic) resin that’s reinforced with a powdered glass filler. It’s useful for a variety of dental restorations, including-

  • fillings
  • veneers
  • inlays
  • crowns

Other filling materials

Your dentist may offer several choices when it comes to materials for a filling. Here’s how they stack up against each other.

How long do composite fillings last?

Composite fillings, while durable, tend to have a shorter life span. One 2010 study predicted a lifespan of about 7 years Trusted Source for a composite resin filling.

Another 2010 review of multiple research studies suggests that you might get 10 years out of a composite filling if the fillings are well taken care of. But that study also notes that someone at very high risk for cavities may not get that many years out of a composite filling.

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