How Do You Know When An Old Dental Filling Needs Replacement?

Having your cavities filled is an important part of helping to stop the spread of tooth decay. When cavities are filled, whether it's filled with metal amalgam or a ceramic resin, the filling helps to protect the underlying tooth from becoming damaged further by bacteria. Fillings help to reduce the risk that you'll experience problems related to tooth decay in the future.

However, fillings don't last forever. They slowly deteriorate over time, and they'll eventually need to be replaced. When fillings degrade, they become an excellent hiding spot for the bacteria that lead to tooth decay. They'll contribute to worsening oral health rather than protecting your teeth. Read on to learn more about when you may want to schedule an appointment to have an old filling replaced.

Your Filling Is Discolored

One of the first signs that it might be time to have your filling replaced is when it begins to become discolored. Over time, the binding agent that keeps the metal amalgam or ceramic together will degrade.

With metal amalgam fillings, it will cause some of the metal to migrate further inside your cavity, which will cause a dark discoloration surrounding the filling that's visible through your enamel. For ceramic fillings, the breakdown in the binding agent causes it to become more susceptible to discoloration from food or beverages, so it will no longer blend in with the surrounding tooth.

You Experience Sensitivity Around Your Filling

If you've recently experienced problems with tooth sensitivity, an aging filling may be the cause. The binding agent that keeps the filling together also helps it adhere to your tooth. When it begins to degrade, it's easier for food or drink to slip in the crevice between your natural tooth and the filling. Food and drink, whether it's hot or cold, can become trapped in that space and contribute to tooth sensitivity.

Your Filling Causes Pain While Chewing

When your filling is causing you pain while you're eating, it's a sign that it has badly deteriorated. As the filling breaks down, it becomes more susceptible to being damaged when you chew. A dental filling is exposed to a considerable amount of force while you're chewing. Cracks can form on the surface, and these cracks can spread when the filling is exposed to force. The spreading cracks place pressure on the tooth surrounding the filling, which can lead to significant pain.

If you're suffering from any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment at a dentist clinic and have your filling examined. A simple X-ray can easily inform your dentist about the condition of your fillings. If a damaged filling is causing your dental problems, then it can be removed and replaced with a new one. By replacing your filling, you'll restore its ability to keep your tooth protected from damaging bacteria that contribute to further decay. Contact a dentist clinic for more information.