Fillings don’t last forever. That’s why regular care and maintenance is necessary. Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and routine dental care can help your filling last as long as possible. But how will you know when it’s time to finally have your filling replaced?
Your Tooth is Sensitive
Sensitivity to certain types of foods or drinks is a red flag that something is going on with your tooth. Especially if it is something sweet, like juice, diet soda or sweet tea. If sudden temperature sensitivity is noted, that could also be a clue that it’s time to have your filling checked out by a dentist.
Something “Doesn’t Feel Right”
Does your tooth feel funny when you bite down? Maybe there is even a rough surface somewhere that you can’t quite point out, or food is getting stuck after meals when that used to never be a problem. If something feels “off,” it could be that the filling or the tooth around it is starting to break down.
There Are Shadows on the X-Ray
Intermittent dental x-rays are essential to diagnosing cavities before they are visible in a clinical exam. In some cases, tooth decay can seep into the margin of your filling without you ever knowing it. On the x-ray, this will show up as a shadow or dark grey area around the tooth.
Once a problem is spotted, it is important to have your filling replaced right away. Otherwise the situation could get worse and impact a larger area of tooth structure. If you suspect that your filling may be giving out, schedule a check-up with your dentist right away.
Posted on behalf of:
Spanaway Family Dentistry
20709 Mountain Hwy E #101
Spanaway, WA 98387
Most Americans have at least one dental filling although the rate of tooth decay has been declining slowly for decades due to advances in oral care and the widespread fluoridation of tap water. We generally don’t give another thought to fillings and assume the tooth is permanently repaired. Maintaining a filling is as easy as following good oral health practices: Brush twice daily, floss once a day, and see your dentist for dental cleaning and check ups every six months.
However, even with good maintenance, most filling don’t last a lifetime. The majority of dental fillings placed these days are amalgam (silver colored) or composite (tooth colored). An amalgam filling will typically need to be replaced at about 15 years while composite fillings do well to last 10 years. Problems can arise with either type of filling.
Over time, chewing pressure can wear down a filling or cause it to separate from the tooth. When this happens, bacteria can get between the tooth and the filling and a new cavity can form under the filling. Fillings can crack or fall out of the tooth. In addition, the tooth itself can crack especially if it has been weakened by placement of a large filling
See your dentist if you notice that part or all of a filling has fallen out, if you feel sharp edges on your filling, or if a tooth with a filling suddenly becomes sensitive. Some sensitivity is normal in a new filling, but it should clear up on its own after a few days. If the sensitivity does resolve in a few weeks, see your dentist. You may need to have a root canal.
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