Dental fillings are a common and practical treatment for repairing cavities and restoring the function and appearance of your teeth. However, fillings don’t last forever, and over time they can weaken, crack, or fall out. Knowing when to replace your dental fillings is crucial for maintaining healthy oral health and preventing further dental issues.
In this article, we will explore the signs that indicate your old fillings need replacing and what you can do to ensure your teeth stay healthy and strong.
Why Do Dental Fillings Need Replacing
Dental fillings can last anywhere from five to 20 years, depending on the type of material used and how well you take care of your teeth. Over time, dental fillings can become worn down, fractured, or dislodged due to the natural wear and tear of biting, chewing, and grinding. Additionally, bacteria can sneak in beneath a damaged filling and cause further decay. It’s important to replace old or damaged fillings to protect your teeth from further decay and damage.
Signs Your Old Fillings Need Replacing
So, how do you know if your old fillings need replacing? Here are the top signs to look out for:
1. Pain or Sensitivity around the Filled Tooth
If you experience pain or sensitivity around the tooth with the filling, it could be a sign that the filling is no longer protecting the tooth effectively. This may be due to the filling becoming loose, cracked, or worn down, allowing bacteria to enter and cause decay. In some cases, sensitivity could be a sign of a new cavity forming near the old filling. If you experience any pain or sensitivity, it’s essential to see your dentist for a proper assessment.
2. Visual Signs of Wear or Damage
Regularly inspect your fillings for any signs of wear or damage. This might include cracks, chips, or rough edges. Discoloration can also be a sign that a filling needs replacement, as it could indicate the material is breaking down. If you notice any of these tell-tale signs, it’s essential to consult your dentist for a professional evaluation.
3. Flossing Difficulties
If you’re having difficulty flossing around a filled tooth, it could be a sign that the filling is not fitting correctly. The filling may have become worn down, leaving a gap between the tooth and the filling. This can make it difficult to floss properly and increase the risk of decay forming in the surrounding area. If you experience difficulty flossing, don’t ignore it – consult your dentist for advice.
4. Changes in Your Bite
Changes in your bite can be a sign that a filling has worn down or shifted, altering the way your teeth fit together. If you notice that your teeth no longer meet properly when you bite down, or if you experience discomfort when chewing, it’s essential to have your dentist examine your fillings and determine if they need replacing.
5. Recurring Bad Taste in Your Mouth
A bad taste in your mouth could be a tell-tale sign of an infected or deteriorating filling. Bacteria can enter beneath a damaged or loose filling and cause an infection, leading to a foul taste in your mouth. If you experience a persistent bad taste, it’s necessary to see your dentist as soon as possible to determine the cause and address any issues with your fillings.
What to Do If You Think Your Fillings Need Replacing
If you suspect that your dental fillings need replacing, it’s essential to visit your dentist for an evaluation. During your appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth and determine whether your fillings need to be replaced. If it’s determined that your filling needs replacing, your dentist will take the following steps:
- Removal of the Old Filling: The dentist will remove the old filling material and any decayed or damaged tooth structure surrounding it.
- Cleaning and Preparing the Tooth: Once the old filling is removed, the dentist will clean and disinfect the area to remove any lingering bacteria. The tooth will then be prepared for the new filling.
- Placing the New Filling: The dentist will choose the appropriate filling material (such as amalgam, composite resin, or porcelain) and place it into the prepared tooth. The filling material will be shaped to match the tooth’s natural structure, and then polished to ensure a smooth surface.
Dental fillings are a common treatment for cavities, but they can wear down or become damaged over time. If you are experiencing the above signs, it may be time that your old fillings need replacing. By seeing your dentist as soon as possible, you can help to prevent further decay and infection.
Are you looking for the best dentist in Alexandria, VA? Then look no further than Galleria Dental of Alexandria! Our team of experienced and skilled professionals is dedicated to ensuring that each patient receives personalized care in a comfortable and welcoming environment. Whether you need a routine check-up, replace old fillings or more complex dental treatment, we are here to help. Let us provide the highest quality care for our patients! Contact us today to get started!