Health Inspired Dentistry Blog

Replacing Dental Fillings Thursday, 24 August 2017

Why Does My Filling Need Replacing?

There are many different kinds of dental filling material and each has a different life span. Fillings can be made of gold, amalgam (silver) or composite (tooth colored) materials. A filling doesn’t need to be causing pain to necessitate replacement. In fact, the goal is to replace the filling before it gets to the point of being symptomatic.

Constant daily stress from chewing, grinding and clenching teeth can cause a filling to wear. As the filling wears, it starts to separate from the tooth leaving gaps at the filling edges or cracks across the top of its surface. These gaps now provide an entry point for decay causing bacteria and food particles to work their way between the filling and the tooth. A toothbrush cannot remove these easily and decay may develop along the edge of the filling and underneath.

If left untreated, decay can progress to infect the nerve of the tooth, which often results in a root canal or loss of a tooth. When silver fillings start to breakdown, they corrode sometimes causing a metallic taste in the mouth. They also begin to leach into the tooth causing it to turn black or grey, staining it, sometimes permanently.

Prevention and treatment of failing fillings

Prevention with regular dental examinations is one of the best ways to keep your teeth and fillings healthy. In the dental chair, magnification of these restorations with an intraoral camera can easily detect faulty fillings early to identify weakness that can lead to complications, which can be costly to tooth structure and your pocketbook. Removal of these fillings, especially older amalgam or mercury fillings, using a safe amalgam removal technique and equipment should be employed so mercury vapor and fine particles are not inhaled or absorbed into the lungs. Following removal, an aesthetically pleasing durable filling is placed that replicates tooth structure.

Our practice promotes mercury-free, mercury safe, biological compatible dentistry and is certified in Safe Amalgam Removal services. Contact us for a complimentary examination to review your restorative needs. See our Preventative Care Services for more information.

-Dr. Claudia Minadeo-Fox