Did you know that dental fillings don’t last forever? Fillings can last for a long time, but eventually, they’ll all need to be replaced, explains the American Dental Association.
Why Fillings Fail
Fillings are strong, but they can eventually fail for many reasons, some preventable and some not. Over time, the forces involved with chewing food can damage the fillings and cause them to deteriorate. If you clench or grind your teeth, that can also put stress on the fillings and damage them. Fillings can also fail if decay develops underneath them; this is known as recurrent decay.
Some types of fillings wear out faster than others. Composite (tooth-colored) fillings are weaker than amalgam (silver) fillings, so they may not be a good option for teeth that are subjected to a lot of bite force, like your molars. Tooth-colored fillings can break more easily under force, so they may need to be replaced earlier than their silver counterparts.
When your filling is just starting to fail, you may not notice any problems, but your dentist will be able to detect issues during an examination. Dentists can use special tools and X-ray images to find problems with your fillings, like worn spots, cracks or decay beneath the fillings. It’s best to have your fillings replaced at this early stage, before you have any discomfort.
Later, the signs of a failed filling are more noticeable. The most obvious sign of a failed filling is that it’s fallen out, but you may also notice a toothache in a previously filled tooth. You may also notice a crack in your filling if you examine your tooth. At this stage, you may require more extensive procedures to fix the failed filling.
Caring for Fillings
Consequently, it’s important to see your dentist regularly for checkups. At these visits, your dentist will evaluate your existing fillings and let you know if they’re still in good condition. They can also address factors that could lead to damage of your fillings, like clenching and grinding. If you clench or grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend a custom mouthguard to help protect your teeth—and your fillings—from damage.
You should remind your employees that their fillings won’t last forever and encourage them to see their dentists regularly for checkups. These regular visits help ensure that lost or damaged fillings won’t come as a surprise during an inconvenient time for your employees or for your business.
While dental fillings can last a long time, they don’t last forever. Eventually, all fillings need to be replaced. To avoid pain or extensive procedures as a result of a failed filling, remember to see your dentist regularly so that problems with your fillings can be discovered at an early stage.