A filling is supposed to fill in your cavity and protect your tooth from further decay. In larger
cavities, fillings can help reinforce the tooth structure and circumvent the need for a root canal.
Most of us know that fillings need to be replaced at some point in time—but did you know that
cavities can actually happen underneath fillings? Here’s how cavities under fillings can happen,
including what you can do to prevent them!
Your Filling May Be Damaged
Since fillings need to be replaced eventually, it’s paramount to get them checked out regularly
by a professional dentist. For example, if a filling is damaged or cracked, this creates space
where food particles and bacteria can get under your filling and cause more harm to your
Every filling creates a seal between your tooth and your filling material. When this seal
becomes worn down or damaged, it’s not difficult for bacteria to get under the filling to attack
the tooth. This is often how cavities happen underneath fillings or along the seal of the filling
and the tooth.
The Seal May Not Be Correct
Although technology has come a long way in helping your dentist create the best filling possible
for your cavity, creating an impervious seal is still almost impossible. There’s usually a tiny gap
in the area where the seal of the filling meets your actual tooth. With proper care, you can
prevent bacteria and food from getting in this space.
However, if the seal of your filling was not done correctly or your filling wears out quickly, you
may be seeing evidence of tooth decay beneath the filling sooner than you think. For instance,
if you grind your teeth at night, this can quickly damage fillings and cause more problems that
may lead to future tooth decay.
Preventative Measures to Take
Patients usually can’t tell if their filling is worn out just by looking at it. However, a dentist can
properly evaluate the state of your filling, which makes regular dental exams all the more
important. During your appointment, your dentist can let you know if your filling is in good
shape or if you should look into getting a replacement sooner rather than later.
The type of decay that forms under fillings may be harder to notice. As such, the damage can
become extensive before it causes any signs or symptoms. These newer cavities may be larger
and more painful than your original cavity, and could potentially lead to more damage or even
necessitate root canal therapy. The best thing you can do is schedule regular visits with your
dentist to check out the damage in addition to taking care of your teeth!
Getting cavities under an existing filling isn’t ideal under any circumstances. You want to take
the best care possible of your fillings while also keeping your regular appointments with your
dentist. These simple tasks can help prevent future decay and keep your existing filling intact
for as long as possible.