If you have some cavities in your teeth that have been repaired by fillings, then your dentist may tell you that the fillings will last around 20 years or so. However, they do need to be replaced eventually, and there are a few signs that you should see your dentist about filling replacements. Keep reading to learn about these signs.
You See The Development Of New Decay
Over time, fillings will shrink a small amount and they will also wear away and expose more and more tooth dentin. New cavities can develop in this dentin, and sometimes the decay will start to develop underneath the filling. When this happens, you are likely to feel some pain and soreness. Pain will be most significant when the decay moves closer to the pulp chamber.
Some fillings will obscure the new decay; however, if you look closely, you may see a gray part of the tooth that is slowly expanding over time. It may even look like the metal filling is growing larger. If you have resin fillings, then the tooth may look a bit darker underneath the resin.
New decay requires the removal of the initial filling, the removal of the decay, and the placement of the new filling. This way, your dentist will be able to make sure that all slivers of decay are removed and that a new filling is seated correctly to protect your tooth.
Keep in mind that if there is too much decay, your dentist may suggest the placement of a crown instead of a filling.
Fillings are placed under a great deal of stress, and this stress can loosen the filling from your tooth. When this happens, you may be able to use your tongue to rock the filling back and forth. Unfortunately, if you can move it, then this means there are small gaps and openings around the filling. This leaves you susceptible to bacterial activity and eventually decay. Some people can even get bits of food stuck in the crevices. The food bits will break down, and this may cause an infection.
Loose fillings have reached the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced. This should happen sooner than later if you want to avoid infection and decay issues. When the new filling is placed, the tooth must be prepared much like it was when you received the first filling. So, a little bit more of your healthy tooth material must be removed in the process. However, this is typically a minuscule amount and your tooth will still retain its structural integrity.