The average adult in the U.S. has seven dental fillings. While dental fillings are a necessary solutions to the problem of tooth decay, they are not without problems. Although fillings can last a lifetime with proper care, they often need replacing after several years or decades. Here are a few of the reasons why fillings fail, and some advice for preventing this problem.
The lifespan of a dental filling depends on several factors. Fillings that replace a large amount of tooth tissue are more likely to need to be replaced with a crown at some point in the future. If you have a tooth that requires a very large filling, your dentist might recommend that you have a crown placed now to avoid the possibility of needing further treatment in the future.
Lifestyle factors also play a role in the lifespan of dental fillings. If you want your fillings to last, then you will need to stick to a healthy oral hygiene routine, which includes brushing your teeth thoroughly each morning and evening, flossing between teeth, and seeing your dentist regularly for check-ups.
Fillings are often lost when biting down on a particularly chewy piece of food, but another common way that a filling can fail is that the tooth holding the filling can crack and break into pieces. The risk of cracking is greater for fillings that are made of dental amalgam – the silver material traditionally used to fill teeth – because this material expands and contracts with fluctuations in temperature. Over time, this slight movement can cause cracks to develop in the teeth.
Dental fillings provide an effective solution to the problem of tooth decay, which can spread quickly if teeth are left unfilled. However, some dental experts fear that certain types of fillings could harm patients. Dental amalgam is made from mercury, which is highly poisonous. Some studies have shown that there is a risk of mercury gradually leaking out of the filling and into the patient’s body.
A safer alternative to dental amalgam is resin composite, which is a type of reinforced plastic. As well as being non-toxic, composite fillings also preserve the structure of the tooth more effectively than amalgam fillings, so the tooth is less likely to crack.
If you have concerns about your dental fillings, see your dentist as soon as possible. Rapid treatment may be necessary to prevent further decay or damage occurring.
Dental fillings have many benefits: they stop tooth decay while bringing back your tooth’s durability. After the filling is placed in areas where tooth decay has occurred, this can mean your tooth will no longer go through the stages of building decay and that any senstivity or discomfort caused by a cavity will disappear.
Dental fillings have progressed significantly in comparison to how cavities were treated before. They now go perfectly with your smile, matching the exact colour of your teeth.
Cavities used to be drilled into, and filled with metal. This was quite noticeable and often left people with a shock when a metal spoon or fork came in contact with it – literally a shock as touching metal to a filling creates a battery-like effect, which is very uncomfortable. Recently, however, porcelain fillings have become more popular in use, which can be colored to match your teeth and are hardly noticeable when you smile. In fact, many patients with metal fillings come in to replace them with tooth-colored fillings, for the additional comfort and look of porcelain dental fillings.
Although you might only come in to get a filling done, it’s the perfect opportunity to deal with anything else that might be worrying you, or even something you might not have known about. For instance, you might want to get your teeth whitened just before the filling is placed if you were already thinking about it, since your filling won’t match your teeth if you end up whitening them later on, meaning it would need to be replaced. Porcelain is not only for fillings, it’s also used for veneers, which is something you could think about when coming in for the procedure. Talk to your dentist to work out a plan that would work best to satisfy your needs and give you the smile you want without a lot of issues or appointments.
Contact us today to learn more about dental fillings or how we can help you achieve a great smile.