An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure!

A young patient receiving preventative dental careWhy are your regular dental check-ups so important?

You may have heard when someone gets a cut that after it heals the scar tissue will be stronger than normal tissue.  So, it would fairly logical to think that after a filling or crown is placed on a tooth, that tooth will be stronger.  Can a filling or crown get a cavity?  The answer is a resounding YES!!!

Regardless of where(or how long ago) dental procedures were preformed, it is quite important to have your Federal Way dentist, Dr. Josephine Lee, keep an eye on them.  That is a VERY big part of your regular checkups.

  • Decay can sneak in around fillings, crowns, and other restorative dental work.
  • Sometimes, restorative work gives plaque additional nooks and crannies to hide in.
  • Typically, the lifespan of fillings is shorter than the lifespan of your tooth.
  • Checking for unusual wear, cracks, and chips can save much bigger problems later including more serious problems like gum disease and tooth loss.
A question that Dr. Lee, your dentist in Federal Way, hears often is “How long should my filling last?”  This is very difficult to predict because of the conditions surrounding a filling are different in every case.  The lifespan depends on one or several of the following factors:
  • The material used for the filling~amalgam, composite, gold?
  • Where the filling is situated in your mouth~under frequent pressure?  Rarely used for chewing?
  • How the filling is cared for by the patient~consistent, thorough brushing AND flossing
  • Is the patient a “clencher” or “grinder”?~people who grind their teeth are harder on their dental work
  • The nature of the host tooth~Is the filling a small portion of the tooth? A larger portion?
  • Does the patient frequently eat hard, sticky foods and/or candies?
All these reasons are why it is so important to be seen regularly for your dental care in Federal Way.  When fillings and other dental work get older and worn, they can be more prone to cracks or even falling out.  Regular dental appointments allow these things to be monitored and checked to catch problems before they become emergencies!
Next time your visit, ask us about possible options for replacing old fillings, and how long you can expect the ones you have to last.  For some people, this is a cosmetic decision because today’s tooth colored fillings look nicer when you smile.  If you have questions or concerns before your next appointment, please comment below or on our Facebook page and we will get right back to you!

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