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A healthy smile is a result of healthy teeth and gums, which depends greatly on your oral care. Brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly will go a long way to ensure your oral health. But sometimes, no matter how well you care for your pearly whites, bacterial plaque can cause cavities. When this happens, dental fillings can restore your smile and keep your tooth healthy and functioning strong.

To fill a cavity, your dentist will remove all decay in the cavity. Once the decay is removed, the cavity will be cleaned to prepare for the filling material. Once the filling is placed, your tooth should function as well as before. Your new filling material should last anywhere from five to fifteen years, depending on the material used. A composite filling can last at least five years, and a silver amalgam filling can last 15. Each has their advantages. Our team at All Gentle Dental is proud to utilize composite fillings. Naturally, your oral care and maintenance will help keep any filling reliable. Once the filling wears down, it will require replacement.

Why a Dental Filling Can Deteriorate

Seal – the seal between the tooth enamel and the dental filling may weaken, allowing bacterial debris and food particles to seep under the filling. This may result in further decay which can lead to infection of the tooth pulp. If it has progressed to this stage, you may develop an abscessed tooth–a painful infection between the gums and tooth or on the tooth root.

Crown – a large filling may not be able to be restored again, depending on whether the decay is great or small, and if the tooth lacks enough structure to support a new filling. In this case, you may need a crown instead.

Pressure – pressure on the filling, whether from chewing or bruxism–grinding and clenching the teeth–can cause a filling to chip, crack, or wear down. And if it is painless, you may not even notice the tooth has fractured or cracked. This is why dental checkups are important, your dentist can spot the issue early when it is most easily and least invasively treated.

Filling falling out – if a filling is old, or the tooth has decayed or fractured, it may fall out. You can lose a new filling if the cavity wasn’t thoroughly cleaned out and prepared, or there was biting and chewing trauma to the tooth.

Fillings, like a natural tooth, can deteriorate over time. Take good care of your teeth, and your dental fillings should last as long as possible. Dr. Pedar Didriksen is happy to help if you require a dental restoration. To schedule your next dental visit, you can reach our Pedar B. Didriksen DDS Family and Cosmetic Dentistry team in Ocean Pines, Maryland at 410-208-2900 today.