Problems With Dental Fillings (cont.)

Deteriorating Fillings

Constant pressure from chewing, grinding or clenching can cause dental fillings to wear away, chip or crack. Although you may not be able to tell that your filling is wearing down, your dentist can identify weaknesses in your restorations during a regular check-up.

If the seal between the tooth enamel and the filling breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the filling. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Decay that is left untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscessed tooth.

If the filling is large or the recurrent decay is extensive, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a replacement filling. In these cases, your dentist may need to replace the filling with a crown.

New fillings that fall out are probably the result of improper cavity preparation, contamination of the preparation prior to placement of the restoration or a fracture of the restoration from bite or chewing trauma. Older restorations will generally be lost due to decay or fracturing of the remaining tooth.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.

Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD, February 1, 2003.

Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2003

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.

Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD, February 1, 2003.

Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2003


Last Editorial Review: 6/17/2008

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