We are all familiar with cavities! Research shows that a vast majority of us will have at least one cavity filled by the time we graduate from high school, but most of us will have several by that point! In fact, only about 10% of adults reading this information right now have never had a filling placed!
You might be wondering what the problem is! How are we stuck with all of this decay? The reasons are not known for sure, but we suspect it has a lot to do with the changing diet over the past few decades. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins have been passed over for a lot of sugary, starchy snacks and meals that cause damage to your teeth.
Even with the perfect diet, decay can happen due to weakened tooth enamel. When that happens, we take care of the problem with a filling, but fillings aren’t always permanent. In fact, many fillings will fail over the course of your lifetime. Today, we want to talk about the steps we take after a filling fails!
The Purpose of Filling a Cavity
A cavity is a hole or dip in your tooth caused by decay. It’s important that we remove the decayed area and fill it with a special material that will end the spread of decay. Without this process, the decay would continue to spread until the entire tooth loses its ability to function!
The sooner we can catch decay, the better it is for your tooth. A small filling will be much more comfortable to place, and it is better for your tooth to remove as little enamel as possible. Large fillings are more likely to fail at some point, and that’s what we want to discuss next.
What Causes it to Fail?
Fillings fail all of the time, but there are some factors that make it more likely to happen! We have a few of those factors listed below.
Age – An older filling is much more likely to fail than a newer filling! This is especially true if the old filling is an amalgam filling.
Size – A large filling is more likely to fail than a small filling. It will also cause more discomfort when it comes out or leaks!
More Decay – Sometimes a tooth already has a filling, but more decay occurs in the same tooth. Sometimes it even happens around the current filling! This can cause the filling to fail completely!
Restoring a Filling
When a filling fails, we need to restore it quickly. Otherwise, it is like the decay was never treated in the first place! Your tooth is left vulnerable to decay and bacteria, which can lead to more serious problems like tooth infections and the loss of your entire tooth. Below are some things we can do when your filling fails!
Replace the Filling – If the filling is small, we can often replace the filling with a new, stronger filling that will restore your tooth’s function without any more damage to your tooth!
Inlay/Onlay – In some cases, a filling is too large to replace with another filling. In those cases, we might turn to a custom-made inlay or onlay. These are made of ceramic or porcelain. They will fit directly into the cavity and be permanently bonded in place, much like a crown. The only difference is that the inlay/onlay will not cover the entire tooth, just the area of decay!
Crown – For extreme cases of decay, or teeth that are broken due to old fillings, we recommend a crown. The crown will fit all the way around the tooth to offer complete support and total restoration for your damaged tooth.
Get Your Smile Back!
Losing a filling can result in a lot of pain and discomfort, as well as put your natural teeth at risk! It is important that you come in for routine appointments so that we can check the state of your restorations on a regular basis.
If you notice pain around a filling or have lost a filling completely, contact us immediately! We would love to see you soon so that we can help you restore your smile.