Is It Time To Replace That Old Filling?


Over the course of your life you have over a 90 percent chance to get a cavity. That means that you’re probably going to end up with a filling too. Most people don’t realize that their fillings aren’t meant to last forever, which ends up leading to even more oral health problems later in life!

At Fairhope Cosmetic Dentistry we want to be sure your fillings don’t hurt your teeth, which is why we encourage you to have them inspected and replaced if they’re getting old. A metal amalgam filling only lasts about ten years, so if yours are older than that you could be endangering a tooth!

What Happens To Fillings?

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with fillings when they hit the ten year mark, particularly if they’re made of metal. We offer metal-free fillings at our office not only because they look better: they’re safer for your teeth too!

Bu what about those old metal ones in your mouth? If you let them sit there for more than ten years you could be facing any of the following problems.

“Leaky” Fillings

When we say a filling is leaking people tend to get a little nervous, especially since the metal ones contain mercury. In reality a leaking filling has nothing to do with the filling itself: it’s a problem with the cement that holds it in place.

It’s probably no surprise that metal fillings can’t adhere to teeth on their own. They have to be cemented in place so they stay put, and that cement has a shorter lifespan than the filling itself. As the cement starts to wear out it forms small gaps between the filling and your tooth, which can be a serious problem.

Even the smallest gap is large enough for oral bacteria to squeeze in, and it will. The result is often a cavity that starts from the inside of the tooth, which is really bad: we won’t be able to spot it until it gets serious! In many cases cavities that form due to leaky fillings end up destroying much of the tooth, resulting in the need for a crown or an extraction.

Metal: It’s Harder Than Teeth

One of the other big concerns facing traditional metal fillings is how different they are than your teeth. Natural teeth are designed to give a little bit so they don’t break from the simplest of activities. When you stick a chunk of metal in the middle of a tooth things get a little bit trickier!

Fillings are much, much harder than teeth and actually interrupt their ability to distribute force properly. The longer an old metal filling is in your mouth the more time it has to cause harm, and if left there long enough it probably will!

Metal fillings can cause microfractures that are so small they’re completely invisible. They can form on the crown of your tooth or below the gumline, and the results can be fatal to that tooth. Microfractures lead to cavities toothaches, and sometimes to a fractured tooth. It’s important to get rid of that metal filling and put something a bit more tooth friendly in its place!

What We Offer

The tooth-colored fillings that we offer are made from a material called dental composite, which is a blend of plastics and glass perfectly formulated to look, feel, and behave just like natural teeth. The problems that come along with metal amalgam fillings don’t have to be a concern anymore!

  • Composite fillings distribute force just like the natural parts of your teeth. That means they won’t cause microfractures!
  • Unlike metal fillings, composite ones are designed to bond to your teeth directly without the need for cement. This eliminates the chance of your filling leaking as it ages, making it safer as it ages.
  • Dental composite is free of potentially harmful materials like mercury. You’ll be able to rest better knowing that you and your family are free from harmful compounds!

Replacing old fillings is a routine and safe procedure. Don’t let that old filling get the best of a tooth that’s still mostly healthy!

How Old Are Your Fillings?

If you have a dental filling that is approaching the ten year mark don’t wait to see what could go wrong. Call our Fairhope dentist office and schedule a checkup today!

You can reach us at 251-210-7142 or you can request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing your healthy, happy smile soon!