What are composite fillings?
A composite filling is a tooth colored material used to restore a tooth after decay removal. A filling is therefore a replacement material for missing tooth structure. Like most materials, filling materials also wear and become weak over time. When the seal between the tooth and the filling material breaks down, it introduces nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide and form decay as they make their way into and beneath the filling material. Therefore, it is important to have your old fillings checked to ensure that they are in good condition.
Do all old fillings need to be replaced?
No. The age of the filling may correlate to its condition, but not always. There are many factors that are unique to each person – diet, home care, grinding habits, teeth crowding, regular checkups, and more. You can have fillings that are many years old but if they are nicely intact with no evidence of decay or defect, they may last many more years before needing to be replaced.
When do I need to replace a filling?
Whether or not a filling has to be replaced is determined case-by-case. The age of the filling or evidence of defect on an old filling does not necessarily require replacing it. It depend on your dental history, size and location of defect, home care, along with other factors. In individuals with relatively low risk for decay, Dr. Lin may recommend we simply monitor it for any changes during your regular checkups.