Regardless of how well something serves us, there comes a point when a replacement may be necessary. This applies whether it’s the latest smartphone, your precisely prescribed eyeglasses, or even your inconspicuous and comfortable dental filling.
Yes, dental filling?
Absolutely! While most dental fillings remain trouble-free for many years, there might come a time when a replacement is warranted. Here are some signs to be aware of:
- Obvious Damage: Your teeth endure significant stress. The forces of biting and chewing exert hundreds of pounds of pressure on teeth and jaws. Fillings, like our teeth, can break down over time due to this constant pressure. If you notice a filling has become loose, cracked, or is pulling away from the edges of the tooth, it’s crucial to contact your dentist promptly. A timely replacement can prevent decay from forming beneath the compromised filling.
- Pain in a Filled Tooth: When a filling is damaged, it no longer provides effective protection to the dentin and pulp inside the tooth. Since your toothbrush can’t reach beneath a filling, but cavity-causing bacteria can, cavities can develop underneath a damaged filling. Hidden decay can progress into the pulp area of the tooth, leading to infection, the need for root canal treatment, or even extraction. If you experience pain or sensitivity around a filled tooth, it’s vital to see your dentist promptly to rule out hidden decay or other serious conditions.
- Cosmetic Concerns: Composite resin fillings, commonly used on front teeth for their ability to be color-matched to enamel, might become more visible over time. Like enamel, composite fillings can be stained by foods such as coffee and red wine, as well as from smoking. If a discolored filling is damaged or decayed, replacement is necessary. For surface cosmetic staining, your dentist might restore the original color with polishing. If you’re concerned about the appearance of your filling, discuss all available options with your dentist.
- Dentist’s Recommendation: During routine dental examinations, your dentist checks the condition of your restorations. If a loose or damaged filling is noticed, or if decay is found beneath a filling, replacement is recommended.
With advancements in dentistry, you now have various options for dental fillings. Gold and silver amalgam fillings are durable and can last ten to 15 years or more, making them suitable for larger cavities. Composite fillings, while not as long-lasting, are nearly invisible and ideal for visible teeth. Your dentist will recommend the filling type that best suits your needs.
If you delay replacing a cracked or compromised filling, you’re taking a risk with the health of your tooth. Dental fillings offer years of durable, comfortable wear, but if it’s time for a replacement, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our Boca Raton dental office.