September 26, 2019
Dental solutions like fillings for cavities aren’t meant to last forever, that’s why it’s important to know what signs to look out for that signify they need to be replaced. They help protect your damaged tooth from harmful oral bacteria, keeping it from becoming infected. In order for them to properly do their job, fillings need to be replaced every five to 10 years, depending on whether or not they’ve been properly cared for. Read on to learn how you can make your restoration last and when you should replace it.
What Does a Filling Do?
If your dentist has ever told you that you had a cavity at your routine checkup and cleaning, then they most likely treated it with a filling. They’re used to fill in areas of dental decay that have left the sensitive inner layers of your tooth vulnerable to harmful oral bacteria. After removing all the infected debris from your tooth, they’ll fill the space in with a composite resin made from fine particles of glass and plastic. Using a special light, the resin will bond with your tooth, sealing the damage and protecting it from further harm.
Signs Your Fillings Should Be Replaced
The most common filling material is composite resin. These last anywhere from five to 10 years when they’re properly cared for. To make sure that your damaged tooth doesn’t sustain more decay, you’ll need to keep up with your filling and replace it if it becomes broken or lost. Here are some signs that you’ll need to visit your dentist for a new restoration:
- Your tooth feels sensitive to extreme temperatures. This could be a result of a damaged filling, leaving room for bacteria to access your tooth.
- A severe toothache caused by a cavity that has gotten worse or an infected tooth.
- Bruxism (teeth grinding) has caused your filling to become damaged or worn down.
- You have a metal filling that makes you self-conscious when you smile.
If you notice that your restoration has been damaged or is no longer in your tooth, immediately contact your dentist. To prevent infection, you’ll need to act quickly.
Tips to Help Your Fillings Last
To get the most out of your filling and ensure that it does its job properly, you’ll need to take care of it. Luckily, it doesn’t require much attention. Here are some tips to ensure that your filling continues to protect your mouth for years to come:
- Keep up with your oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing daily.
- Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Don’t use tobacco products.
- Substitute water for acidic and sugary drinks and juices.
- Avoid chewing on hard and sticky foods.
When you visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning, they’ll inspect your filling to make sure it’s undamaged and still doing its job. If it’s not, they can repair it before any harm comes to your oral health.
About the Author
Dr. Bita Kamali is passionate about dentistry and routinely takes continuing education courses to stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in her field. She focuses on providing all of her patients with high-quality, individualized preventive care to keep the small issues from having the chance to become more severe. She looks forward to establishing lasting relationships with her patients so she can help them achieve their healthiest and most beautiful smile. For questions or to schedule a routine checkup and cleaning, visit Parkway Vista Dental’s website or call 972-818-1300.