Fillings are used in dentistry to stop tooth decay from spreading, fix cracked and/or broken teeth, or help stabilize teeth that are worn down. replacing fillingsThese issues can happen due to improper use of teeth such as teeth grinding, using your teeth to open things and/or excessive brushing.

Because fillings are so important towards maintaining good oral health, replacing your fillings when need be is a vital part of a good oral health plan. The life of a filling on average is 12 years; however, fillings can fall out or need replacement much sooner than this. Others however, can last for several years.

Reasons Why Fillings Need to be Replaced

When fillings are broken, damaged or worn down, bacteria can seep in and feed off of the debris that becomes stuck in between the tooth and the broken filling. The bacteria forms the acid that causes tooth decay and if left untreated, a whole new treatment plan will need to be devised including possibly having to pull the tooth. Your dentist will check your fillings at each of your annual cleanings to determine whether or not they need to be replaced. Below are some common reasons why your dentist will recommend replacement:

  • Your Filling fell out- fillings are under a lot of pressure from the chewing we do throughout the day, and even more if you bite your nails or grind your teeth. Fillings can also fall out if saliva reaches the cavity where the filling is put in because the filling cannot bond properly to the tooth.
  • Your Filling is cracked or cracking- Most of the time, cracks form on fillings because they encounter so much force through daily eating. Sometimes, cracking on the edge of the filling can be repaired instead of needing replacement.
  • Leaking Fillings- These occur when there is a space between the filling and where it should be bonded to the tooth that allows for saliva and debris to get in the tooth. This can lead to further decay and also discoloration. Sensitivity to cold temperatures is an indicator of leaking fillings as well.
  • Normal Wear and Tear- overtime, fillings will become worn down and start becoming thin or loose, this wear and tear is what leads to leaking and cracked fillings as well.
  • Clenching and Grinding- People who grind their teeth in their sleep or as a nervous habit and also those who tend to clench their jaw frequently will have fillings that may not last as long as everyone else. These actions create additional force and hardship on fillings and cause sensitivity.


Dentists recommend two cleanings every year to maintain oral health. While at your appointment a dental hygienist will perform your cleaning for your teeth and gums, afterwards, a dentist will come in to check for cavities, gum disease and look at your teeth and fillings for any present or future issues. Call your dentist if you notice a filling fall out, see a crack or experience discomfort or sensitivity.