Personalized & Comfortable Dental Care, with offices in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Arco.

Personalized & Comfortable Dental Care, with offices in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Arco.

4 Things You Should Know About Fillings

A metal cavity filling on a single molar on an isolated background

Fillings aren’t perfect, and it can be a real pain when something goes wrong. Keeping yourself educated can help you to make your fillings last longer, and hopefully, prevent the need for new fillings. Here are a few of the things everyone should know about dental fillings:

  1. Fillings Don’t Last Forever
    • In fact, the average lifespan of a filling is about 12 years. In my experience, 12 years seems a little generous. They say that teeth are stronger than bones, and you better believe we put that to the test every day. As nice as it would be, fillings just aren’t as strong as our teeth. Because of this, even our normal eating habits prove to be too much for the composite bond and eventually will wear it down.
  2. Problems with Fillings Require URGENT Attention
    • Don’t you dare put this off. If you notice sensitivity or unusual texture/roughness of a filling call your dentist as soon as possible. Cracks or lifts in fillings are exposing an already sensitive area to saliva and debris. If you don’t jump at this issue you could be looking at some much more serious dental procedures…dare I say it- the dreaded root canal. Do yourself a favor and let your dentist know as soon as you detect a problem.
  3. Fillings Require a Little Extra TLC
    • Now, I’m not suggesting that you drastically change your diet and oral hygiene routine. I only suggest that you keep in mind that your teeth can handle a lot more than your fillings. Hard or acidic foods can damage your pearly whites and they can do even more damage to a repaired tooth. If you have a filling on your left side, consider chewing your corn nuts on the right. Use a toothpaste with fluoride and make sure you let your dentist know of any sensitivities you might have.
  4. Fillings are NOT a Guaranteed Protection
    • Too many of us think that as soon as a tooth is repaired with a filling that it will never bother us again. Oh, how I wish that were true! But again, (as if I haven’t said it enough) fillings are not a substitute for natural teeth! Though long-term, fillings are not permanent and they sure aren’t perfect. However, with the proper care, they do protect a great deal.

Mercury Free Fillings

Mercury free fillings have been the talk of the town since we’ve learned that the compounds included in the metals of the old type of fillings can possibly be dangerous in large amounts. Eagle Rock Dental Care always supplies patients with the best quality filling type. We use a compound that is always safe for your mouth. To top it off, the compound we now use to fill cavities is made of a substance that adheres to your teeth. This means we can make a smaller hole and you have a lower risk of developing gaps in the seal between your tooth and the cavity.

Should Old Silver Fillings Be Removed?

That’s up to you. The silver metal that was once used to fill cavities is called amalgam. There are a variety of metals that make up amalgam. These include silver, mercury, tin and copper. Small amounts of zinc, indium or palladium also may be used.

Right now, the FDA is looking into amalgam for dental use. The FDA approved it to be safe for children and adults not long ago, but many groups have asked them to delve into it even further to check again. The mercury is what is the cause for concern. You can see what the FDA has to say about Dental Amalgam here.

Metal vs Mercury Free Fillings

Composite fillings, like what we use here at Eagle Rock Dental Care, have physical properties that are closer to your tooth’s structure. Their bonding proprieties reduce decay which means we can make a much smaller hole for the filling than we could before. It restores the tooth to a more natural appearance as well.

Metal amalgam fillings are silver and require more tooth removedThe metal shimmer of the amalgam fillings were very aesthetically noticeable in years past. Granted, silver fillings are harder and can support more chewing pressures, but metal has properties that expand and contract with temperature changes. If your metal filling changes shape you could risk opening the seal to your tooth allowing air, food and buildup underneath the filling. You may not notice this until something about it causes you pain. Also, no expanding metal filling means no risk of future tooth fractures as a result.

With all the possible problems that can present after a filling, it sure helps to have a trusted, local dentist! At Eagle Rock Dental Care we are here to help you keep your smile protected and comfortable. Schedule your appointment online today or contact us at any of our three local offices!

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