Fillings are one of the most common practices in dentistry to remedy a cavity, chip or small crack. The affected portion of the tooth is removed and a tooth-colored material is bonded and polished to look and function like a healthy tooth. When teeth are cared for properly and the environment of the oral cavity is maintained, a filling can last anywhere from 5 years to the rest of your life.
Most of the time when a filling falls out, it is because decay has seeped underneath an old filling and debonded the filling that was placed. This typically takes a few years to occur but with regular dental visits, your dentist can detect the decay on x-rays and replace the filling before this happens. Other reasons your filling might fall out include excessive grinding, chewing ice or even just clenching while stressed. If your brand new filling falls out, however, it’s typically due to a disruption in the bonding process. None of these examples are typically an issue if you get in to see your dentist quickly to have the filling replaced.
Sensitivity sometimes occurs after a new filling is placed. The larger the cavity, the more likely this is going to happen. There is a nerve inside of every tooth which is protected by a healthy tooth structure, and when that tooth structure is decayed or removed, you may sometimes feel sensitivity. There are multiple techniques to minimize the amount of post operative sensitivity and a lot of dentists will place desensitizer in the tooth prior to placing the new filling.
Sometimes old, large silver fillings can expand over the years and cause teeth to fracture. If your dentist starts to see fracture lines around an old silver filling, they may recommend that you have it replaced or get a crown placed to prevent the fracture from getting worse. If you’re concerned about the aesthetics of your silver fillings, you can talk to your dentist about having them replaced with the tooth colored restorations.
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