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Why Do I Need a Filling? Six Reasons Why Dentists Do Fillings

Do I Need a Filling?Many people wonder why their dentist tells them that they need a filling.  Although having a cavity is the #1 reason we do fillings, there are also many other reasons that people get fillings.

Why You Need a Filling

1 - Cavities

Cavities remain the number one reason that dentists give patients fillings.  Even so, not all cavities need fillings.  Sometimes very small cavities can be "watched."  When this happens, the dentist monitors the cavity and if it appears to be repairing itself, you won't need to get a filling.

I'd like to add a word of caution: Only leave a cavity unfilled if your dentist has recommended that your cavity should be watched.  Putting off necessary dental work can complicate your dental health and increase your costs.

If you do have small cavities that your dentist is keeping an eye on, check out these 12 weapons of plaque destruction to see how you can help your cavity heal.

2 - Tooth Fracture

Many times, fractured teeth can be repaired with white composite filling material.  You can take a look at a tooth that I repaired with a white composite filling before I started working with real patients in dental school.

Prevent your teeth from fracturing by wearing a mouth guard during these 16 activities.

3 - A Slow Loss of Tooth Structure

When you fracture your tooth, you lose a lot of tooth structure quickly.  There are other ways that you can lose tooth structure more slowly, such as abrasion, abfraction, erosion, and attrition.  You can learn about those in the article about the four ways you wear away tooth structure.

The best way to prevent this type of tooth loss is by avoiding acidic drinks and acidic candy, not grinding your teeth, and not using your teeth as tools.

4 - Tooth Discoloration

Another reason that dentists do fillings is to cover up discolored teeth.  Teeth can be discolored for a variety of reasons, such as staining from antibiotics and dental fluorosis.

5 - Replacing Old Fillings

Old fillings may need to be replaced.  Over time, white fillings can discolor and the bond between the filling and the tooth can break down.  Silver fillings may also fracture after many years of service.  One of the first fillings I did in dental school (unbeknownst to my patient!) was the replacement of a silver amalgam filling that had fractured.

Questions About Fillings?

Do you have any questions about why dentists do fillings or why you need a filling?  Go ahead and leave a comment in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!


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3 Comments |  Leave A Comment

  1. Great Article. I set it up to be posted to my Facebook page.

  2. I have changed my diet to fruits and vegetables in the last 3 years. I have no need for dentists even though I am a type II diabetic. Don't have much sugar in your diet. Do eat celery as a snack. Do buy "goldenseal" and consume it according to directions. Take vitamins A, D3, and K2. Solve your own problems. Dentists were not available 500 years ago and people had great teeth back then. Search on the net alternative diets and natural cures. The sooner the better.

  3. i have some black spot on my molar teeth
    but i doesn't hurt
    so what should i do

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About Me

Tom, Creator of Oral AnswersHi, I'm Tom. I recently graduated from dental school and am now a dentist in Bridgewater, Virginia. I started this blog to help people take better care of their teeth. You can learn more about me or ask me a question.

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