Does My Filling Need to Be Replaced?

You have a few dental fillings on your backmost molars. One is a metal, or amalgam, filling and the others are tooth-colored composite fillingsresin. You wonder if and when any of these restorations could need replacement. At Ogden Dental in Columbia, MO, Dr. G. Michael Ogden places and maintains dental fillings from today's most lifelike and durable materials. He can tell you the condition of your fillings and when they require a redo.

The mechanism of decay

Why do we need fillings? Fillings restore teeth compromised by cavities--holes in tooth enamel caused by oral bacteria and the acids they secrete. Soft, sticky plaque and hard tartar are the primary sources of these bacteria. However, chips, cracks, wear from teeth grinding, and loose fillings allow bacteria entrance to tooth structure, too. Left untreated, tooth decay leads to:

  • Tooth fracture and abscess, as the interior pulp becomes infected and inflamed
  • Enamel discoloration
  • Tooth loss

As such, the professional team at Ogden Dental keeps a close watch over your teeth and gums with six-month examinations, X-rays, and hygienic cleanings. Regarding your existing fillings, Dr. Ogden looks at those carefully to be sure they are well-sealed to tooth enamel and are not chipped and cracked in any way.

Replacing fillings in Columbia

Cracked, chipped fillings require replacement to avoid more extensive restorative treatments such as dental crowns, root canal therapy or dental extraction, says the American Dental Association (ADA). Whatever the reasons, the filling process basically is the same--anesthetize the area around the tooth, remove the decay and old filling material with handheld instruments and place the new filling material into the prepared site.

Filling materials

What are today's materials of choice? Aesthetically pleasing materials include:

  • Popular and durable composite resin, a blend of glass particles and acrylic which is placed in layers and hardened with a blue curing light
  • Glass ionomer, a unique mix of slow-release fluoride and glass known for its natural appearance and cavity prevention on the cheek- and tongue-sides of teeth
  • Inlays and onlays, or partial porcelain crowns, great alternatives to big fillings

The ADA also says that modern tooth-colored fillings require far less enamel reduction than amalgam. Therefore, whether you have a tooth filled for the first time, or are replacing one a restoration, your tooth restored with one of these naturally-colored materials will be strong and have a long lifespan.

Does your filling need replacement?

Find out with a complete oral examination at Ogden Dental in Columbia, MO. For your convenient appointment time, call the office team at (573) 449-7483.