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Fillings do an effective job of repairing small to modest sized area of tooth decay. As time goes on the natural wear and tear of biting, chewing and grinding food, as well as the effects of the bacteria in your mouth, can potentially degrade the cement holding a filling in place. While there is no hard and fast rule as to the lifespan of any one particularly filling, the larger and older a filling is, the more likely it is to fail.

Some fillings give you no obvious sign that it is about to fail. Addressing a filling that is going bad early, can improve your treatment options. Dr. Jeryl Abbott offers a few simple things to look out for if you suspect one of your fillings is going bad.

If a filling on the biting surface of the tooth gives you a sharp pain when biting down or chewing, it’s a sign that the cement is weakening. The same is true, if it is a lingual filling near your tongue, develops an edge or has a distinct change in texture.

You might also notice a slight graying in the tooth enamel around the filling. This is a sign that bacteria have worked their way between the filling and the healthy enamel of the tooth.

If the filling is small enough Dr. Jeryl Abbott might simply be able to apply a new, slightly larger filling. If the area of decay is large, then she might recommend replacing the entire enamel layer of the tooth with a crown.

If you suspect one of your fillings is going bad, you should call Dr. Jeryl Abbott to set up an appointment to have it looked at.