Your Fillings Will Not Last Forever

If you have been avoiding that nagging toothache, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Leaving a cavity to its own devices can cause serious problems to both your teeth and gums.

Lost fillings, crowns, tooth decay, and cavities under existing fillings don’t always cause pain, but according to your dentist, those issues will not go away on their own.

Most people do not realize that old fillings can be harboring dirty little secrets, cavities underneath existing restorations.

The average life span of a silver amalgam filling is about 11 or 12 years, Composite fillings will only last about five or six years. Your dentist is the only one who can examine your teeth in order to determine if tooth decay has developed underneath your fillings. Even if your fillings are new, you should still have them examined twice a year when you schedule your bi-annual checkups.

Fillings could become discolored over time and will eventually wear out. Tooth colored, or composite fillings can darken, yellow or pick up stains. Chewing is also hard on fillings because of the tremendous pressure. If a filling has not been placed properly, it can also cause problems.

According to Hawaii Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Wynn Okuda, fillings can leak, crack, or chip and once this occurs, decay will begin to form. Bits of food and bacteria will seep under your cracked or broken fillings. This can also happen if your fillings are leaking. Because it is impossible to clean under your existing fillings, cavities will begin to develop. Unfortunately, the decay could become extensive before any pain occurs. If this happens, you may need a root canal.

Both composite and amalgam fillings can chip or crack regardless of when those cavities were filled. Most cracks occur over a period time as chewing and biting can eventually wear down the filling in the restored tooth. Cracks around the edges of your fillings can also occur over time. When this happens, your dentist will have to replace your existing fillings using amalgam or composite resin materials.

Leaking fillings are another problem that must be taken care of by your dentist as quickly as possible. Fillings will leak if they are not fitting tightly. Leaking fillings allow saliva and debris to seep in between the tooth and the filling leading to sensitivity, discoloration and even tooth decay.

Grinding and tooth clenching can also cause added stress to your existing fillings. Those fillings, regardless of their composition, will eventually develop craze lines or small cracks. If you shine a flashlight on your teeth, you will be able to see any cracks that have developed on your tooth.

If your teeth are sensitive, or if part of your filling is missing or cracked, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Sooner rather than later is imperative in order to avoid more costly procedures.