Fillings are an excellent means of repairing teeth after decay has been removed. At Chapel Street Dental, the ones we offer are colored to match patients’ teeth, making them beautiful as well as functional. But fillings will not last the duration of a person’s life, and we want our patients to know when one needs to be replaced.
Fillings should not make it painful to bite down. A tooth will typically be sensitive immediately after decay has been removed, but this should clear up within two days. If it does not, or if the patient is unable to bite down fully, it is important to return for a follow-up to ascertain whether the filling is high—meaning not filed down enough.
High fillings are a rare occurrence, but even the best-made filling is held in place by bonding that will degrade over time. The expected lifespan of a filling is about ten years. After that, the bonding will begin to crack, and bacteria will be able to enter the cracks and resume causing decay. At this point, the filling will have to be replaced before too much additional tooth material is lost. If an old filling becomes painful again, it’s past time for an appointment.