3 Signs that Your Filling Needs to Be Replaced

Dental fillings are hardly a newfangled procedure. Civilizations as far back as the ancient Egyptians used dental tools to drill into teeth, remove decay, and fill damaged teeth. Back then, physicians used everything from beeswax and tar to precious metals to treat cavities. 

Thankfully, modern dentistry has made significant advancements, and we have access to state-of-the-art fillings that are much safer and more attractive than ever before. But for all the progress, fillings still aren’t perfect, and they may need to be repaired or replaced. 

Dr. James Butler and our team at Innovative Dental Ideas specialize in a full spectrum of dental services, including replacing your dental fillings when necessary. Here, we share three telltale signs that your fillings are due for a touch-up. 

#1: Your filling is old

Fillings last, on average, 5-10 years with diligent oral health care. Chewing and the inevitable effects of time eventually catch up with your fillings and can cause them to change color and/or weaken. Sometimes, you might not even realize your fillings are damaged until a dentist looks at them with an X-ray. 

If it’s been years since you’ve received your filling (or had a dental cleaning for that matter), it’s time to schedule an appointment with us and make sure your filling doesn’t need to be replaced.

#2: Your filling is damaged

Damaged fillings aren’t always easy to see, but they’re easy to feel. Slide your tongue over your tooth. Do you notice a chip, crack, or gap where your filling should be? It’s not uncommon for fillings to become unlodged or damaged if you bite down on sticky or crunchy food, grind your teeth, fail to keep up a good dental hygiene routine, or get hit in the face. 

Don’t delay coming in to see us to replace your filling, as leaving your tooth exposed can lead to more serious problems. 

#3: Your tooth hurts

Pain is your body’s way of telling you when something’s wrong, and that’s especially true when it comes to your teeth. If your filled tooth has become painful, it’s typically the result of damage that has exposed your nerves or allowed bacteria to accumulate and infect your tooth tissue. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment any time you develop new or worsening tooth pain.

Replacing your filling

The process for replacing a filling is very similar to the process used to place your original filling. We use special tools to carefully remove the old filling and replace it with new, stronger material. 

In addition to addressing damage and tooth pain, we replace your old filling with tooth-colored composite fillings, which come with the added benefit of matching the color of your other teeth. We recommend this type of filling because it often requires that we remove less of your natural tooth structure. It’s also designed to bond to your tooth, which provides added support. 

Caring for your filling

There’s no way around it — you’ll probably have to replace your filling at some point. But there are a few things you can do to make it last as long as possible. To start, making certain dietary and eating habit adjustments can increase the longevity of your fillings. 

For example, sugary foods and drinks make it easy for biofilms to grow on your fillings, which can lead to new cavities underneath. Biting down on hard candies, nuts, ice, and other crunchy foods can weaken or damage your fillings. 

You should also avoid tough and sticky foods, like gum and beef jerky, that threaten your fillings. Some beverages, such as tea and coffee, can stain your teeth and discolor your natural-looking fillings. 

Of course, the best thing you can do for your fillings is to keep up a consistent oral health regimen. Brushing and flossing twice daily clears away bacteria-causing debris and helps to keep your fillings looking brand new. It’s also important that you make and keep regular cleanings and dental exam appointments with us to monitor your fillings. 

Think your filling needs to be replaced? Don’t hesitate to call us at 614-529-0062, or request an appointment online at our Hilliard, Ohio office.

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