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Your smile depends on the health of your teeth and gums, both in function and in form. Dental restorations, or dental fillings, play a vital role in keeping your natural teeth lasting a long time. They are made to withstand the forces of biting and chewing, lasting anywhere from 5 to 15 years, depending on the material used. For example, composite resin fillings typically last up to five years, whereas cast gold fillings can last longer than 15 years. Both have their advantages, and depending on their placement in your mouth can help you decide which works best for you.

Fillings can be made from composite resin, porcelain, silver amalgam, cast gold and even glass ionomer. Over time your fillings will wear down or chip or crack, and can even fall out completely. Fillings can also be repaired if the damage is not serious enough to require replacement. A filling may leak or crack, and if this happens, food particles and bacteria can enter the area beneath the filling. Because you can’t clean this area, bacteria will produce acid from feeding on food particles, which in turn can lead to tooth decay if it isn’t repaired. This can go on for a while because if there is no pain, you won’t notice what is happening. This is why regular dental checkups help so much, we can spot the problem even before you do!

A filling can sometimes fall out after an injury, such as biting down too hard on something, or if the filling wasn’t strong enough for the tooth it was placed on, especially if it was a large filling. It can also happen if it didn’t bond effectively to the tooth because saliva leaked into the cavity during the restoration procedure. A filling may also crack from biting if it was placed higher than the tooth’s surface. Cracks can even develop around the edges of the filling which may only require a repair instead of replacing the entire filling. And finally bruxism–constant grinding of your teeth while you sleep–can wear down fillings over time.

Dental checkups and cleanings spot problems while they are in the earliest, easiest and most economical stage of repair. If you are experiencing problems with a filling, we invite you to come in and have it treated as soon as you can. To schedule your next dental visit with Dr. Gabr, you can reach our Modern Dentistry of New England team in Bristol, Connecticut at 860-582-4485 today.