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Even when you brush and floss regularly and see your dentist every six months, you may incur a cavity, requiring a dental restoration. Bacterial plaque can damage your pearly whites creating tooth decay and gum disease. Having your cavities filled will restore your smile and keep the tooth as healthy as possible. Once your dentist clears out the decay, thoroughly cleans the tooth area, and fills the cavity with a filling, your tooth will function as well as before the cavity. A dental filling can last anywhere from five to fifteen years, depending on the material used. When your filling wears down, it will need replacing. So what are some reasons your filling requires replacement?

Seal – if the seal between the filling and tooth enamel weakens, bacterial debris and food particles can leak under the filling. If this happens the tooth may experience further decay, which can lead to infection in the tooth pulp. This can lead to an abscessed tooth, a painful infection on the root of the tooth or between the gums and tooth.

Pressure – pressure on the filling from bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching) or chewing, can cause the filling to chip, crack, and wear down. If there is no pain you won’t notice this is happening, which is why dental checkups are vital for spotting a problem early when it is most easily repaired.

Crown – if you have a large filling deteriorating, or the decay is too great, you might need to forgo another filling in this tooth and opt for a crown instead. The tooth may not have enough structure left to support a new filling restoration.

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

To find out if your fillings are deteriorating, don’t skip those six month dental checkups! To schedule a visit with Dr. Rebecca Barfield, please reach out to our Jolly Family Dentistry team in Little Rock, Arkansas at 501.228.6360 today.