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When Dr. Todd S. Resek and Howard C. Nader repaired your chipped or decayed tooth with a dental filling, it was intended to last for many years to come. It’s important to note that inconsistencies in your daily oral hygiene routine, using low-quality oral hygiene products, and delaying your twice-annual dental checkup can bolster the natural bacteria living in your mouth.

As time goes by, the bacteria could invade the seam between the tooth enamel and the filling material. The larger and older a filling is, the more prone it is to a problem like this. Sometimes you can notice an overt symptom that one of your fillings is about to go bad. Catching it early can improve your repair and treatment options.

Early symptoms of a filling in distress include heightened sensitivity and a sharp pain when biting down or chewing on that tooth. This could also be associated with a change in texture, especially if the filling is on the lingual side of the tooth near your tongue. You should also beware a filling that causes heightened sensitivity when you consume cold, hot, sweet, or acidic things.

A gray discoloration forming in the nearby tooth enamel is a telltale sign that bacteria have invaded the seam between the filling and the healthy tooth enamel. Much of the cement has likely been compromised and there is serious potential for new decay to set in.

Sometimes your dentist can replace a small, bad filling with a fresh new one. Unfortunately, if the filling was large or if the tooth suffers from a new cavity, you might need to have the entire tooth enamel layer replaced by a dental crown. The material used for the crown will vary depending on the tooth’s primary function and its visibility in your smile.

If you live in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, and you suspect one of your fillings is in distress, you should call 412-828-3311 to have it examined and treated at Oakmont Family Dentists.