Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Replacing a Failed Filling

Many times, when we encounter a filling fails, we recommend restoring that failed filling with a dental crown. This is the often best way to protect a tooth. A filling is not going to protect and strengthen a tooth as much as a crown will.
Can you replace a filling with something else?
We can replace a filling with another filling. However, the constant refilling of teeth can weaken them. This is because more tooth structure must be removed each time a tooth is filled. The larger the filling is; the weaker your tooth becomes, and the more vulnerable it will be to cracking or breaking off.

Can’t you use composite dental resin?
Yes, but keep in mind that a very large hole in your tooth may need more than cosmetic dental resin can fix.

How do you know when replacing a failed filling can only be done with a crown?
If there is sufficient tooth mass to support normal biting and chewing, and if we do not have to remove a great deal of this to refill the tooth, we will use cosmetic dental resin. However, like we have already said, the danger here is no matter how good the resin does the trick, there will be insufficient tooth mass remaining to support normal biting and chewing.

In order to determine if we need to replace the filling with resin, or replace the filling with a crown, we have to thoroughly examine the tooth and make and accurate assessment of its current viability. A tooth that is clearly not going to make it with a new filling alone is going to need to be crowned.

This is not to say that cosmetic resin may not be used for a procedure such as a core buildup, but the exterior or the tooth will still be crowned to protect what is left of its enamel and dentin.

What other benefits does replacing a failed filling with a dental crown offer?
It seals the tooth. It keeps out plaque and bacteria. It also enhances cosmetic appeal by restoring the shape and the strength of the tooth.

What types of crowns do you use?
There are gold crowns still in use that many people like because they are very easy on opposing teeth (due to the softness of gold itself). There are also porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns which are very strong, but which are beginning to be phased out for newer forms of all porcelain crowns that look nearly identical to tooth enamel and are so hard they can handle all the normal pressures of daily chewing and biting without breaking or cracking.

How long does it take to replace a filling?
Normally, it takes two appointments to restore your tooth with a crown. During the first appointment, we have to remove what is left of the old filling and any decay that may have ensued since its failure. We also have to take impressions of your teeth to send to the dental lab that will make your new dental crown.

When the crown is ready, we will call you back to our office and fit your tooth with the crown.

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