Some of My Fillings are Very Old. Do I Need to Get Them Replaced?

In the 21st century, it’s often assumed “newer is better.” However, when it comes to dental restorations of any type, the decision to replace one type of restoration with a newer kind hinges more on the state of your oral health than on any other single factor.

oral-healthIf you have older fillings and you are concerned about their durability, it’s best to consult with your dentist to see if replacing them is a good idea. If you have fillings made of amalgam, which have often been created from an alloy of mercury, tin, copper and other metals, you may be considering replacement for cosmetic reasons rather than primarily for your oral health.

Oral Health Reasons to Replace Dental Fillings

  1. The seal between your natural tooth and the filling has broken down, allowing bacterial plaque to form underneath the filling.
  2. Your filling has chipped, cracked or fallen out. Once a tooth has received a filling, it will always need protection from decay.
  3. The filling has been compromised from teeth grinding (bruxism). Untreated bruxism wears down natural teeth and can damage the seal on your filling.

If your dentist does recommend replacement of your fillings, there are two other materials the American Dental Association recommends: composite, which is created from resin and finely ground glass particles; and glass ionomers, which are a mix of glass powder containing fluoride and an organic acid. Both composite and glass ionomer fillings can match the color of your natural tooth.

“Dental fillings are designed to be durable, but it is important to replace them if a threat to your oral health is detected,” says Dr. Melanie Bauer, a dentist in practice at Dr. Carol Ford & Associates in central Phoenix. “Consult with your dental provider for their professional opinion.”

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