Tigard Dentist, Dr. Justin Marostica has 7 reasons for replacing old amalgam (silver) fillings. Although Dr. Marostica does not place or use amalgam fillings in his office, he would like his patients to know that replacing an old amalgam filling simply because it is “old’ might not mean that it necessarily needs to be replaced. As a Dentist in Tigard OR for over 4 years he has replaced many amalgam fillings with white composite restorations and he uses 7 indications when examining an amalgam filing to decide if it needs to be replaced.
1. Recurrent decay or Secondary Caries. By the far the most common reason that amalgam restorations are replaced is because of the recurrent decay or a cavity that has formed around the filling. This happens for many reasons like inadequate oral hygiene or poor dietary habits to name a few. Frequent visits to your Tigard Dentist with periodic radiographs will help detect any signs of recurrent decay around the fillings. When recurrent decay is found early most times a dentist can simply replace the filling. Sometimes however, if the filling to be replaced is very large then a dental crown might be indicated.
2. Restoration (Filling) or Tooth Fracture. Although not as common as recurrent decay, fractured restorations need to be replaced immediately. Fractured fillings occur for many reasons, but mostly because of excessive wear. A fracture in a filling can leave the tooth open to bacteria or plaque which can cause decay to form in the tooth. Frequent visits to your Tigard Dentist where he will examine all your fillings will help with early detection and prevention. When a filling fractures many times it can simply be replaced, but there are times when a crown might be indicated.
3. Gingival Overhang. Most gingival overhangs are a result of poor dentistry. It is difficult to explain the reason that they occur without getting into too much boring details, but simply the fillings needs to be redone. When an overhang is left it will snag floss and trap food. This can result in cavities forming between the teeth and possibly along the root surface. Frequent visits and checkups at your Tigard Dentist will limit overhangs from occurring.
4. Inadequate Proximal Contacts. When teeth adjacent to each other do not contact properly it will allow for food to impact in this area. This can cause severe gingival (gum) irritation and if not corrected this irritation can lead to bone loss around the teeth. Teeth that properly contact are easier to clean, will not harbor plaque or bacteria, and will not be a source of constant irritation. If you feel like floss passes too easily between your teeth then there is a strong liklihood that you have an “open contact”. Your Tigard Dentist will check how your teeth contact at every hygiene appointment and can correct an “open contact” if it is present.
5. Pulpal (Nerve) Symptoms. Pulpal or Nerve symptoms can mean anything from pain on biting to cold or heat sensitivity. It is important that you visit your Tigard Dentist immediately if any of these symptoms arise. If ignored these symptoms can cause irreversible damage to the nerve which can lead to infection and potentially the loss of the tooth. Sometimes by simply removing and replacing the existing filling the symptoms can go away, but it is very important not to procrastinate and have the tooth looked at immediately.
6. Excessive Wear. Probably not as common as recurrent decay, but excessive wear is another very common reason for replacing amalgam fillings. As a dentist in Tigard OR, I have found that many of my patients will have had the bulk of their amalgam fillings placed at the same time 20-30 years ago. Since all the fillings were done at the same time they all seem to wear out or fail at the same time. I try to explain to my patients that replacing worn fillings is like replacing a worn out tire on your car. No matter how well a filling is done the material has it’s limitations and will not last forever. It is for this reason that regular and frequent visits to the dentist are important. Excessive wear can lead to both tooth and filling fracture. If left untreated could lead to the loss of the tooth.
7. Aesthetically Undesirable. We are so lucky to live in a time of great innovation and advancement in dentistry. We can now place white filling material called composite in teeth and make them look as good as new. Your Tigard Dentist, Dr. Marostica, has not placed a silver filling since his time in dental school and does not plan to do so. When white fillings are placed properly they are as strong as any filling material and the added benefit is that they look great!
If you would like to speak with Dr. Marostica of TenderCare Dental in Tigard OR give us a call at 503-670-7088.