Just like tires on a car can get worn out and need to be changed out, so can your dental fillings. A common misconception is that fillings last forever. Unfortunately, they do not. Depending on the size, type and material of your filling, the longest some fillings last is 10-20 years. The exact expiration date isn’t etched in stone, but there are several warning signs that your dentist looks for to know when it’s time for your filling to be replaced. Here are 3 signs that you need to be aware of, and let your dentist know if you’re experiencing around old fillings:
#1 – The tooth is sensitive. Whether it’s to pressure, certain types of foods, or just an occasional twinge – you most likely need to have the filling changed out. This is usually due to leakage or new cavities around the margin of the filling, and bacteria entering into the tooth around the edges of the restoration.
#2 – Food is packing in areas around the tooth. If you’ used to not have any problems with food getting stuck in your teeth, but all of a sudden now you do – it’s likely that a part of your filling or tooth around the filling has broken. If you’re flossing after every meal due to a problem area collecting food, then it’s time to schedule an appointment.
#3 – You see tooth discoloration around your filling. Silver fillings can break down and cause a bluish-grey stain to leak into the enamel around your tooth (called an amalgam tattoo.) This is a sign that the amalgam is breaking down and should be replaced due to the fragility of the restoration.
In addition, if you have old amalgam fillings, talk to your dentist about replacing them with tooth colored composite fillings. Composite dental fillings look better and do not have the same health concerns that have been raised regarding amalgam fillings.
Posted on behalf of Mockingbird Dental
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