What Is Recurrent Decay Around a Dental Filling?

dental filling McLean, VA

Dentists will generally use a dental filling to repair a decayed tooth. The filling replaced the structure of the tooth lost to decay. A dental filling is also an option when a tooth is broken or worn down. One of the reasons dental fillings often need to be replaced is if recurrent decay occurs around them.

About recurrent decay around a dental filling

Recurrent decay is a dental decay that develops beneath a dental filling due to leakage around the dental restoration. These leakages occur when the fillings crack, chip or deteriorate due to constant pressure from teeth grinding and chewing. These issues create gaps around the filling, creating an entry point for bacteria to get under the filling. Although it is difficult to tell when a filling is compromised, a general dentist might detect the problem during a routine checkup.

Diagnosing recurrent decay

Early diagnosis of dental issues is possible with regular dental checkups. The dentist will check if the filling is good or damaged. They sometimes use a tool known as an “explorer” to discover worn areas around the edge of dental fillings. If the seal holding the filling to the tooth depletes, food debris and bacteria will find their way under the filling. Since the decay-causing bacteria are hard to eliminate with a toothbrush, the person will be prone to developing recurrent decay in the tooth.

Failure to treat the decay promptly may cause the infection to spread to the dental pulp and may even cause tooth loss. Tooth decay may also cause tooth abscess. An abscess is essentially a pus pocket that develops close to the root of the infected tooth. The infection will not heal naturally unless a dentist treats it.

The dentist may take dental x-rays to determine the extent of the decay under a dental filling or between teeth. The x-ray will reveal a failed dental filling and decay, and the fillings will need to be replaced. In case of severe recurrent decay, the dentist may need to replace the filling with a dental crown, because there may not be enough adequate tooth structure left to hold the replacement filling.

Prompt treatment

If someone detects a crack in a filling, looseness or pain, it is advisable to book an appointment with a dentist immediately. This will ensure early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Patients often experience pain when the decay is deep or near the tooth pulp. Pain can also mean unhealthy oral tissues. Visiting the dentist for help will prevent the problem from worsening and reduce the need for extensive, and sometimes costly, dental procedures.

Final note

If a dental filling is compromised, decay-causing bacteria can find their way into the tooth. They could cause decay that will affect the dental pulp and usher in a series of oral troubles. It is always better when issues with existing dental fillings are detected and treated promptly. If you notice any changes with your filling, contact a general dentist for an appointment. They will decide whether the dental filling needs to be replaced or resealed to the tooth.

Request an appointment here: https://www.oaktreefamilydental.com or call Oak Tree Dental at (703) 763-5239 for an appointment in our McLean office.

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