When tooth decay strikes, you need a dental filling in Washington. Also called a dental restoration, these are necessary to replace any tooth structure that is lost when decay-causing bacteria penetrate the enamel surface. And while dental fillings can last for many years, the fact of the matter is they are not designed to last forever.
What Causes Fillings to Weaken?
Several factors can contribute to the failure of a dental filling. The beverages and foods that you enjoy every day as well as bruxism—teeth grinding and clenching—wear away at fillings. Consequently, worn fillings can become chipped, cracked or may even loosen and fall out.
When this happens, the same kind of bacteria that caused the initial decay has access to your vulnerable tooth surface. These bacteria may be hiding underneath any remaining filling material and are, therefore, next to impossible to remove. As a result, decay may develop along the edges of the filling or underneath. Left undetected, the decay can spread to the pulp chamber where the tooth’s nerve, blood and lymph tissue are housed. If this happens, then a root canal may be necessary in order to avoid tooth extraction.
How Are Worn Fillings Found?
Unless a filling falls out, then chances are slim that you’ll be able to recognize when one begins to fail. That’s why regular dental checkups with your dentist in Washington are so important.
During your dental examination, the dentist will check to see whether your fillings are intact, worn or cracked. A special instrument called an explorer is used to trace along the edges of fillings to find any spots that may be worn or chipped.
In addition, digital X-rays taken once each year will show if there is any decay developing underneath a filling or between teeth. Hidden in these places, decay cannot be seen or detected with the explorer.
If you have a filling that is compromised, then it should be replaced as soon as possible.
Don’t delay treatment when you notice that a filling is loose or that a filled tooth is sensitive when you bite down. Call your dentist in Washington right away to schedule an appointment.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. James Mace is a dentist in Washington, MO. He and his staff are committed to ensuring the health, beauty and longevity of your smile. If you’d like to learn more about tooth-colored fillings or another service, contact us today.