If you have dental fillings, it’s important to check your fillings for signs of wear and tear as part of your daily dental health routine. Over time, the edges of dental fillings can become rough, and the filling material can weaken and begin to break down. Rough or weak fillings may make plaque removal more difficult because plaque can build up in those areas.
If you develop tooth decay that has progressed beyond the process of eroding your tooth enamel and has created holes in your teeth, your dentist will likely recommend a filling. When you get a filling, your dentist will remove the decayed material from the tooth and replace it with something else to restore the shape of the tooth. Fillings can be made of tooth-colored resins or a combination of materials (amalgam) that may include mercury. Although some people worry that the mercury might make them sick, medical studies have shown that amalgam fillings are safe for most people. If you are concerned, ask your dentist about different choices for fillings.
If your tooth decay is severe, your dentist will likely use a crown rather than a filling to repair the damage. A crown is larger than a filling and covers the top of the tooth once the decayed area is removed. Crowns are usually made from porcelain, gold or a combination of porcelain and metal.
No matter what type of filling or crown you have, be sure to follow a complete oral care routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing to remove plaque and prevent future tooth decay. There are lots of products designed to help you clean around dental work such as fillings and crowns. Your fillings and crowns should not need to be replaced unless they show signs of wear or become loose or defective in some way.