Have we recommended that you replace your dental filling, or have you noticed a problem with an existing filling? If so, it is important that you learn more about replacement and what options might be available to you.
Why Might You Need to Replace a Filling?
Your fillings are designed to be durable and long lasting, but some signs may indicate they require replacement. Some of the most common are outlined below:
You see a crack. A cracked filling can take years to develop, but if you tend to grind or clench your teeth, it may result sooner. A crack in a filling will allow bacteria to enter the tooth, causing decay. You might be able to see a crack on your own, or a dental X-ray could spot the problem.
You feel pain in the filled tooth. If your filled tooth is the source of a toothache, you may need a filling replacement. This could indicate there is a crack in the filling, and a leaky filling could also lead to sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures. A filling that is no longer adhering tightly to the tooth could also cause tooth pain.
The filling falls out. This is an obvious sign that you need a new filling, but if your filling falls out entirely or in part, you need a replacement right away.
Your filling looks different. A tooth-colored composite filling that turns colors or looks darker is a good candidate for replacement. Replacing the filling will protect your tooth and restore its appearance.
Even without these problems, if your filling reaches the end of its life expectancy and is starting to show signs of wear, we may recommend replacement. You can take this time to upgrade to a more aesthetically-pleasing material.
What Are Your Replacement Options?
If we determine that it is time to replace your fillings, there are several replacement options available. Longevity, durability, and performance will all be factors in which filling model you choose and how the material is placed. Options include the following:
Composite. Composite fillings are made from acrylic resin that can produce a tooth-colored restoration. They offer fracture resistance and durability, and they are best suited for small or mid-sized restorations. They can support and withstand moderate chewing pressure, but might not be a good option for the molars.
Amalgam. An amalgam filling involves a mixture of copper, silver, mercury, and tin, all of which create a very strong material. Amalgam is durable, resistant to wear, and easy to place. Compared to some of the other options, it is also quite affordable.
Glass ionomers. Glass ionomers are tooth-colored materials that are made with glass powder that contains fine fluoride particles. Also combined with an organic acid, these materials create a solid restoration that releases fluoride.
We will help you to select the filling material that is right for your unique teeth and needs.
How Long Do Fillings Last?
Different types of dental fillings have different life expectancies. Composite fillings, for example, are usually good for 7-10 years in patients with healthy mouths. When cared for properly, they can last for up to 12 years, which is closer to the life expectancy for amalgam fillings, which often last for over a decade. Silver fillings are arguably the most durable, as they can last for 10-15 years, but they are often avoided due to aesthetic concerns.
Remember that while dental fillings are long-lasting, they won’t last forever, so you’ll eventually need a replacement or an upgrade. Our office is here to help, offering suggestions on the most affordable and durable options for your unique teeth. Call us today at 479-646-0706 to evaluate the health of your fillings, or feel free to request an appointment using our convenient online request form.