Fillings that have worn down, chipped, cracked or are missing leave gaps that can provide an entry point for bacteria. If the seal between the tooth and the filling breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way between the worn filling and the tooth. These bacteria cannot be easily removed with a toothbrush and decay may develop along the edge of the filling or underneath it.
Decay that is undiagnosed and untreated can infect the dental pulp (which contains the tooth’s nerve and blood supply), which often results in the need for root canal treatment or even loss of the tooth.
Regular dental examinations are important because problems with existing fillings can generally be detected early. Although you may not be able to tell that your filling is damaged, our dentists at Ellettsville Dental Center can identify most weaknesses in the filling during a regular checkup.