Although everyone wants to retain their natural teeth, there are situations that may call for tooth extraction, replacement or restoration. Dental fillings are commonly used to replace your tooth structure and restore a damaged tooth to its normal shape and function. These fillings are used when teeth are damaged due to decay, trauma, injury, or any other dental problem. But, fillings don’t last forever; they are prone to decay because of several reasons. They can become discolored, develop cracks due to tremendous pressure, or simply wear out. Hence, they need to be replaced. Many people avoid replacing a filling just because the problem is not indicated by pain. However, there are several other signs and symptoms apart from the pain that call for replacing a filling.
If There are Cracks in your Fillings
Fillings are of two kinds, amalgam or silver and composite or tooth-colored. Both of these are prone to cracking. Cracks can occur within the limited time of them being placed or even after years of placing them. If the filling is higher than the other teeth when placed, it can crack due to tremendous pressure bore by it alone. Pressure from chewing or biting on hard foods can also cause the filling to crack. Moreover, it may crack as the filling wears out. While minor cracks may be repaired, in the case of severe cracks, the dentist may suggest replacing the filling.
If your Fillings Leak
When a filling does not fit tightly to the tooth, it can start leaking. The loose fit allows debris and saliva to enter and get trapped between the filling and tooth causing cavities, decay, sensitivity or discoloration. Sensitivity to cold is a symptom that your amalgam filling is leaking. While the sensitivity may disappear within a few weeks, the filling starts corroding over the period that may lead to dental issues. A composite filling can also be contaminated by saliva, weakening the bond between the filling and the tooth, resulting in a leak. This leads to sensitivity and increases the risk of decay. Hence, it is best to get your leaking fillings replaced.
If your Fillings are Worn Out
Fillings tend to wear out over time due to several reasons including tremendous pressure from chewing and biting, and poor oral hygiene. While some fillings can last for 15 years or more, there are others that need replacement within 5-10 years. Worn out fillings may not necessarily cause pain or sensitivity, but they can lead to tooth decay and other dental issues. Hence, it is best to consult a dentist regularly to determine if the fillings have worn enough for replacement.
If you Clench and Grind your Teeth
Clenching or grinding of teeth puts pressure on your teeth, resulting in extra wear and tear of your fillings. This habit can also cause teeth and fillings to crack and develop fine lines. These fine lines are minor unnoticeable cracks, which if not taken care of, may enlarge causing further damage. Hence, it is best to get a replacement for a filling worn out due to grinding of teeth. You may also consult the dentist for solutions to eliminate the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth.
While all these symptoms demand for replacing a filling, they may not give out signs of damage. This may lead to a dental emergency if the damage goes past repair. Hence, it is best to maintain oral hygiene and visit a dentist on a regular basis to avoid severe dental issues.