A significant portion of the population has at least one dental filling, but few patients know that, according to the American Dental Association, all fillings need to be replaced eventually via a filling replacement procedure.
This is because, over time, fillings can be damaged and/or worn-down, just like a natural tooth! This damage and decay comes from food, drinks, and clenching or grinding, which can wear down or even crack a filling. Because of this normal wear and tear, your fillings will likely need to be replaced at some point.
During a normal cleaning appointment or consultation, the dentist can use a tool called an explorer to identify any weak spots in your current filling(s). In some cases, X-rays may be necessary to find cracks or to determine if decay has spread underneath an existing tooth or filling. If that is the case, our dentist may recommend a replacement filling.
So, what can you expect from a filling replacement procedure? Well, it’s mostly the same as a regular filling procedure, but with a tad more work on the part of the dentist, who will remove the old or damaged filling and replace it with a new one.
As with any filling, you always have options. Traditionally, fillings were made of amalgam material, which is a mixture of silver, copper, tin, and mercury – these are also known as metal or silver fillings. This material is durable and long-lasting and more resistant to cracking.
Another option that is increasing in both popularity and durability is composite acrylic resin fillings (or just “composite fillings”). This material, along with glass ionomers used for fillings, is tooth-colored and is ideal for certain situations.
Many people may put off replacing their fillings out of fear or to avoid the hassle, but it is imperative that you do not procrastinate your treatment. Cracked or otherwise damaged fillings can leave you exposed to harmful bacteria that can get deeper into your tooth and mouth, causing further decay and discomfort. It is important to have old fillings replaced because, to be fully effective in protecting your oral health, a filling must be sealed to the natural tooth. Without this seal, patients may face more complications in the future.
If you have any anxiety about the procedure or if you want to explore your options in depth, make an appointment with us at the office of Larry Saylor, DMD in Brandon. Learn more about the filling replacement procedure and why it may be necessary in your case. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!