It’s an unfortunate part of getting a filling: they don’t last forever! Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body and it’s difficult to replicate the durability, flexibility, and long-lasting effectiveness of what nature gave you. While fillings can last 15 years or longer damage is always possible, so it’s important to see us at Marineland Dental Care to be sure yours are still in good shape!
Patients at our Kennewick office often come to us to have gold fillings replaced. While gold is a great filling material it’s soft and can eventually wear out. When that happens gaps form between your tooth and the filling that cause further decay! As your tooth decays more and more the chances of filling or tooth loss increase!
If you have a filling that’s over fifteen years old we definitely recommend an exam to determine whether it’s still doing its job. You don’t want to end up with a filling that just causes more tooth decay!
Replacing A Filling
If you’ve had a filling done before then you don’t need to be worried about additional pain or discomfort from a filling replacement. We go through many of the same steps and simply add “drilling out the old filling” to the procedure. We’ll numb you up and provide any desired sedation before we begin.
If you want another gold filling we’ll be happy to place one, and in some cases gold can be an ideal substance. It is expensive, however, which is why many patients prefer metal amalgam or tooth-colored composite. Depending on where your filling is located you might love the benefits of a tooth-colored filling: they’re completely invisible!
In some cases we may find that your filling has caused further decay. Depending on how bad it is we may need to use an inlay, onlay, or crown to repair excess damage. In extreme cases the tooth may need to be extracted but this is very uncommon. If your tooth is bad enough to need extraction you’re probably experiencing some pretty serious pain!
Inlays and Onlays
When we find decay around an old filling or just weakening of your tooth structure inlays and onlays are an ideal replacement choice. Think of them as a step between fillings and crowns: they replace more of your tooth but still leave all healthy material in place. We always want to protect as much of your natural teeth as possible!
An inlay replaces the chewing surface of a tooth. If you have an extensive filling on the surface of a molar or premolar then an inlay will be the ideal choice. We’ll remove your old filling, clean out any additional decay or worn tooth, and create a larger restoration that will be placed directly into your tooth. As opposed to a filling that’s placed soft and then hardened an inlay is prebuilt and placed directly.
Onlays are required when a more substantial part of your tooth needs repair. Onlays are used when the entire chewing surface needs replacing and involves removing the old filling and a larger portion of your tooth. Because a filling can cause additional decay and weaken your tooth it’s important to remove any portion that is at risk for further damage and replace it with a long-lasting, protective material.
Inlays and onlays are both placed over two appointments. You won’t have to worry about pain or discomfort: you’ll be numbed up and comfortable before we even start! Once we’ve finished removing your old filling and reshaping your tooth we’ll take an impression that our dental lab uses to build your restoration.
Between appointments you’ll have a temporary restoration, so don’t worry about having an exposed tooth in the couple of weeks it takes to make your permanent inlay or onlay!
When we receive your finished restoration from the lab we’ll have you back to permanently place it. You’ll be ready to enjoy your newly restored tooth before you know it! Inlays and onlays are made from metal, ceramic, or composite depending on location and your choice. Whichever material you choose you’ll be enjoying a new healthy tooth!
Don’t Wait To Check On That Old Filling!
If you’re concerned that an old filling might need to be replaced don’t wait – any chance you have for further decay just increases! You can reach Marineland Dental Care at 509-591-0515 or you can simply request an appointment right here on our website! We look forward to helping you soon!