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A radiant smile depends on your oral health and having healthy teeth and gums. Your smile also relies on dental restoration, or fillings, to repair cavities and avoid tooth decay and tooth loss, playing a vital role in both natural tooth preservation and restoring your smile.

Depending on the filling material, a restoration can last 5 to 15 years. Filling material includes porcelain, composite resin, silver amalgam, cast gold and even glass ionomer. For example, composite resin fillings last up to five years whereas cast gold fillings can last longer than 15 years. The decision on which filling material to use may hinge on a variety of factors, such as location of the filling, cost, and durability. Your dentist is your best ally in finding the right filling for you.

Chips, Cracks, and Lost Fillings

Any dental filling will wear down with time, and some can crack or chip or fall out. If the damage is not serious, some fillings can actually be repaired instead of replaced. You do want to have cracked or chipped fillings fixed, because a leak allows food particles and bacteria to enter, and since you clean the exposed area under a filling, bacteria will create acid which causes tooth decay. The problem is, you may not even know this is happening if you aren’t having any pain, so it can go on for a while and cause damage to the tooth. This is why having regular dental checkups and cleanings help catch problems you might not be noticing. We can spot the problem and fix it before it gets too destructive.

So, a dental filling can fall out on occasion. What causes this to happen? Anything from an injury to the tooth like biting down too hard on something, or perhaps the filling type wasn’t strong enough for the tooth, which can happen when filling a large cavity. A filling can also fall out if it didn’t bond correctly to the tooth if saliva leaked into the cavity during the restoration. Cracks can also develop if the filling was placed higher than the tooth’s surface. Cracks can also erupt around the edges of your filling. Bruxism can also cause cracks in fillings. Bruxism is the constant grinding of your teeth while sleeping.

Caring for your smile by keeping up with regular dental visits helps spot problems while they are in their early stages. This means savings for you by requiring less invasive repair. So if you are having any problems with your dental fillings, or if it is time for your next checkup with Dr. James Thomason, you can reach our North Fork Dental Care team in Rexburg, Idaho at 208-356-3012 today!