The unfortunate news is that cavities can easily form around fillings. Let’s break the process down a bit to better explain how this occurs.
What Fillings Do
As cavity-causing bacteria burrow down into areas of the teeth worn away by sugar and acid from food, the infection deepens and spreads. If allowed to grow, the decay will cause teeth to fracture or even abscess if it reaches the nerve. The dentist cleans out the decay to stop the infection and seals off the empty space with filling material. This treatment stops the disease, but the risk doesn’t end there.
Risk of Decay
The edge of a filling will always be more susceptible to collecting cavity-causing bacteria because it is not the continuous smooth surface of a natural tooth. Additionally, if your diet has not changed, you could still be exposing your teeth to just as much acid as before and providing more fuel for cavity-causing bacteria. Daily brushing and flossing and use of fluoride will help lower your risk. Dry mouth is also a contributing risk factor. If you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth (which cleanses teeth and neutralizes acid), then you will be prone to developing new cavities around fillings.
Aged fillings tend to break down, creating gaps in the tooth into which food and bacteria are easily packed. Your dentist may recommend updating old fillings to lower your risk. Your dental hygienist can provide you with professional in-office fluoride treatments to give your teeth an added defense. Your dentist may also recommend special rinses if you suffer from dry mouth. Be sure to ask your dentist about your individual risk level for developing cavities around existing fillings.
Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
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