Dental News

Do You Know How Often Dental Filings Should Be Replaced?

September 13, 2016

Do You Know How Often Dental Filings Should Be Replaced?

The reality is that there’s simply no substitution for natural, healthy teeth. When we do dental fillings, the purpose is to replace the structure of the tooth and to restore a tooth that’s been damaged by decay back to a functional shape. No matter which type of filling you have, whether silver, also known as amalgam fillings, or tooth-colored, also known as a composite filling, they’re not meant to last forever.

Signs your amalgam filling may need to be replaced

Amalgam fillings are made to last for a very long time. That said, they don’t last forever. Amalgam fillings are made of mixed metals that contract and expand over time. There are no bonding properties, so in order for California Dental Group to complete an amalgam filling, we sometimes need to make the hole in your tooth larger. As a result, fractures can occur over time. There are three types of cracks that are generally associated with amalgam fillings:

  • Craze lines, which are superficial and don’t require treatment.
  • Fractures that extend along to other areas of the tooth and may or may not require a crown or a replacement of the filling.
  • Cracks tend to extend toward the root and may require a crown or a root canal. In extreme situations, they may require the tooth to be extracted.

Filings must be sealed directly to the tooth

If the seal between your tooth and your filling breaks down and gaps are created, then bacteria and food debris could seep down under your filling. This can cause decay. If it’s treated early, we can simply replace the filling, but if you put it off then a crown or root canal may be necessary. The worst decision you can make is to put off seeing California Dental Group about your broken or unsealed filling. If you wait until it’s painful then you’ll likely increase both the complexity and the expense of the treatment.

Your best defense is a good offense

The best way to ensure that your fillings are still working for you is to visit California Dental Group on our recommended schedule for your exam and x-rays. In many cases, you won’t be able to tell that your fillings are failing. Just like a mechanic would change your oil, rotate your tires, and fix alignment issues, a dentist can find small issues and fix them before they turn into significant emergencies.

Other ways to be on the lookout for issues with your fillings

Do you have a change in your bite or have your teeth become sensitive? If so, this may be an indicator that you have an issue with one or more fillings. The reality is that you do know your teeth well and your observations are valuable. If you suspect that there’s something going wrong with your teeth or your fillings then you should call California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 right away.