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Will my filling last forever?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

One of the most asked questions in our office is: "Will my filling/crown last forever?!?"

No matter how strong a material is, it is as strong as the weakest material surrounding it.
Sometimes, it is the tooth itself that fails. Teeth can decay, crack, fracture... This would unfortunately lead to failure of the restoration.

The filling material and its bonding agent (glue that keeps it in place) can also fail due to material fatigue. Material fatigue is a progressive and localized structural damage that results from repeated cyclic loading of an object. We chew on average 1,500 times per day. Add to that the abuse from teeth clenching and grinding, ice &/or gum chewing, nail biting (or ear biting in the case of Mike Tyson) etc... Like teeth, fillings will wear down.

Last month, we had a case of a failing tooth colored (composite) filling.
Failing filling
The patient complained of sensitivity to biting and to cold on her upper left teeth. She had those fillings placed over 10 years ago, and they haven't bothered her until now.

Exam findings:
1. She felt pain when the pressure was specifically placed on the filling on tooth 2.6 (14 for US dentists)
2. A gap was felt between the filling and the tooth indicating an open margin

There is likely failure of the bond between the filling and the tooth (the glue that links the filling to the tooth)

The filling needs to be replaced.

We started by numbing the tooth and isolating it with a rubber dam. It is an important step to avoid contaminating the area. One of the main reasons why a tooth colored filling fails prematurely is if a film of saliva ends up on the tooth surface while the filling is being placed. That film will compromise the longevity of the filling by weakening the strength of the bond between the materials and the tooth.

After the filling was replaced
The filling was successfully replaced. When we saw the patient for her recare appointment, a week later, she was happy that the pain was gone.

Do you have a comment, a question or would like to schedule a consultation? Follow this link for our contact information: http://ariadental.com/contact.php

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