The point of having a tooth filling placed in a cavity is to stop the hole in your tooth from growing, while restoring the strength the tooth has lost. Doing so not only alleviates the pain of a cavity, it also stops the decay from spreading throughout more of your tooth. If the tooth filling fails, then the bacteria that lead to decay can infiltrate the tooth again, and you may risk further infection and the threat of tooth loss. You might notice that your filling has failed if the tooth begins to hurt again, or if you feel the filling fall out completely. If so, then you should seek treatment as soon as possible to restore the tooth, preferably with a tooth-colored filling that reduces the risk of failure in the future.
What a Filling Does
Tooth decay starts at the enamel, or outer surface, of your teeth. Certain oral bacteria weaken the layer by producing organic acids, and eventually a hole, or cavity, will develop from the infection. To treat the cavity and stop it from destroying more of your tooth structure, your dentist can clean away the infection and restore the cavity by filling it.
How Can a Filling Fail?
A tooth filling reinforces the weakened tooth while protecting the vulnerable tooth structure that was exposed by the cavity. However, if the tooth filling fails, then the tooth can become more severely infected, or damaged by the failed filling. For instance, metal fillings may expand or contract in different temperatures, which can either crack the tooth, or leave it vulnerable by retreating from the tooth’s structure.
Save Your Tooth From a Faulty Filling
Instead of metal, which can fail as it changes shape over time, tooth-colored composite resin is less liable to fail by retaining its shape in all temperatures. Resin can also be securely bonded to the tooth’s structure, so there is little chance of the seal failing.