Replacing Old Fillings: When and Why You Should Consider It

Dental fillings are an essential part of maintaining oral health, especially when dealing with cavities and tooth decay. However, as durable as they are, fillings don’t last forever. At some point, you may need to consider replacing them. Understanding when and why to replace old fillings is crucial for maintaining long-term dental health and preventing future complications.

When Should You Consider Replacing Old Fillings?

  • Wear and Tear: Over time, fillings can wear down due to the constant stress of chewing, grinding, and biting. If you notice your fillings are becoming less effective or showing signs of wear, it’s time to consider replacement.

  • Leakage or Separation: Fillings can shrink and pull away from the tooth over time, creating small gaps. These gaps can allow bacteria to enter and cause decay under the filling. Regular dental check-ups can help detect these issues early.

  • Recurrent Decay: If new decay forms around a filling, it compromises the integrity of the restoration. In such cases, the old filling, along with the new decay, needs to be removed, and a new filling should be placed.

  • Cracks or Fractures: Fillings, especially older amalgam fillings, can expand and contract more than the natural tooth structure, leading to cracks or fractures in the tooth. These need immediate attention to prevent further damage.

  • Aesthetic Concerns: With advancements in dental materials, many people opt to replace old amalgam (silver) fillings with tooth-colored composite fillings for a more natural and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Why Consider Replacing Old Fillings?

Health and Functionality

  • Prevent Tooth Decay: Replacing fillings helps prevent decay from developing under or around the old filling.

  • Maintain Tooth Structure: Timely replacement can protect the tooth from further damage and maintain its structural integrity.

  • Improve Oral Health: It ensures overall oral health is maintained, preventing more extensive procedures in the future.

Comfort and Confidence

  • Reduce Sensitivity: Old or damaged fillings can cause tooth sensitivity. New fillings can alleviate this discomfort.

  • Enhance Smile Aesthetics: Replacing old, discolored fillings, especially in visible areas, can significantly improve the appearance of your smile.

  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your fillings are in good condition can provide mental comfort and confidence in your dental health.

The Replacement Process

  • Consultation and Evaluation: A Woodland Hills dentist will assess the condition of your fillings and surrounding teeth.

  • Removal of Old Filling: The old filling is carefully removed, along with any decay.

  • Tooth Preparation: The tooth is cleaned and prepared for the new filling.

  • Placement of New Filling: A new filling is placed, shaped, and polished to restore the tooth’s natural function and appearance.


Regular dental check-ups are crucial for monitoring the condition of your fillings. If your Woodland Hills dentist recommends replacing an old filling, it’s not merely a suggestion but a necessary step towards preserving your dental health. With modern dental technologies and materials, replacing an old filling is a straightforward, effective, and beneficial procedure.

Remember, maintaining your dental health is an investment in your overall well-being. If you suspect your fillings might need attention, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at Woodland Hills Family Dentistry for a thorough evaluation. Your smile deserves the best care possible!

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