A New Restoration? Why?

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Often times you will hear us tell our patients that they need a new crown or a new restoration (filling). “Why?”, is the most common response. Unfortunately, dental work is not guaranteed to last forever. We always do our best to provide optimal, lasting care but we also have to consider the hostility of the environment of the mouth. There are several reasons why fillings, crowns and bridges fail. Fractures of the restoration itself, cavities formed under the restoration, open margins, excessive wear, etc. Failure or fractures of the restorations is commonly related to excessive biting forces created during clenching of the teeth. Some of these forces cause flexing of the tooth and restorative material, which in turn compromises the integrity of the margin of the restoration. Patients with high risk of decay in their mouths are prone to have recurrent decay under existing restorations and along the junction (margin) of the restoration with the tooth. There is not one sole cause for a restoration to fail but one factor can initiate additional ways for a filling or a crown to have to be replaced. As with any problem in life, the longer you leave it go, the worse is going to get.  With this being said, the sooner we see and diagnose a failing restoration and the sooner we treat it, the easier and more conservative the solution will be.