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Are you practicing excellent oral hygiene to keep your smile healthy and vibrant? Your daily brushing and flossing and six month dental checkups, all work to give your smile a fighting chance against tooth decay and gum disease. Even so, bacterial plaque can wreak havoc on your pearly whites, resulting in cavities. When this happens, dental fillings will restore your smile and keep your affected tooth healthy.

To place a dental filling, your dentist will clear out the decay in the cavity. After the decay is removed, the cavity area will be cleaned and filled, so your tooth will function as well as before the restoration. How long can you expect your filling to last? It depends on the filling material, a composite filling can last at least five years, and a silver amalgam filling can last 15 years. Of course this all depends on good oral hygiene to maintain the tooth. And once the filling wears down, it will require replacing.

Causes of Filling Deterioration

Seal – it can happen that the seal between the filling and the tooth enamel weakens, allowing bacterial debris and food particles to seep under the dental filling. This may cause the tooth to decay even further, which can lead to infection of the tooth pulp. This can cause an abscessed tooth, which is a painful infection between the gums and tooth or on the root of the tooth.

Crown – If the tooth filling is large, or if the tooth decay is too great, you might need to skip having another filling placed and opt for a crown on this tooth instead, because the tooth may not have enough structure left to support a new filling restoration.

Pressure – bruxism, or tooth grinding and clenching can cause your filling to chip, crack, or wear down. Pressure from chewing can also wear down a filling over time. Because this may be painless, you may not even notice this is happening, which is why dental checkups are important. Your dentist can spot the issue early when it is most easily treated.

Fallen filling– if a filling is old, or the tooth has decayed or fractured, the filling may fall out. If you lose a new filling, it might be because the cavity wasn’t thoroughly cleaned out and prepared, or there may have been biting and chewing trauma to the tooth.

Take good care of your teeth, and your dental fillings should last a good long while. When it is time to have a filling restored, Dr. Stephen Huber and his team are happy to help. To schedule your next dental visit, you can reach our caring dental team in Leawood, Kansas at 913-543-3751 today.