Of all the risk factors, the best predictor of whether you’re going to get cavities is whether you already have cavities. And, unfortunately, sometimes your new cavity actually appears underneath your old filling or crown. This recurrent decay also known as recurrent caries or recurrent cavities is frustrating because it means that your filling will have to be redone–and it can allow cavities to penetrate more deeply into your tooth.
To try to avoid this problem, researchers have proposed a new antimicrobial filling that can prevent recurrent decay. Until it becomes available, though, people have to rely on the skill of their dentist and preventive care to avoid recurrent decay.
The Problem of Recurrent Decay
People who develop cavities are more likely to develop future cavities. That’s because they’ve already demonstrated that their lifestyle, hygiene practices, and genetic makeup makes them susceptible to tooth decay. Fillings are supposed to stop tooth decay. But recurrent decay undermines their benefit.
So what causes recurrent decay? Recurrent decay is caused to some extent by the same things that caused your initial cavity. But how does decay get under fillings? Something allows the oral bacteria to get through the restoration. This might be caused by:
- Poor initial fit
- Thermal expansion and contraction
- Wear on fillings
- Damage to fillings
If your initial filling is not well fitted, oral bacteria can sneak around and get under it. It only takes a microscopic gap for them to get through.
Thermal expansion and contraction can also create these gaps. The problem is biggest with metal amalgam fillings, which are very different in thermal expansion rates from your natural teeth, which can cause the appearance of gaps between the tooth and filling or cause cracks in the tooth.
Fillings might also wear down. A well-fitted margin can wear away from the tooth, leading to a gap that isn’t sealed.
Finally, if a filling gets chipped or cracked, it can create space for bacteria to get in.
New Fillings to Protect Against Recurrent Cavities
But soon we may have a new tool to protect against recurrent cavities. Researchers at the University of Toronto claim they’ve developed a new filling material that can help reduce the incidence of recurrent cavities.
Like many people, they see the solution as embedding antimicrobial compounds in the filling to keep bacteria away. In the past, these embedded antimicrobials were only effective for a few weeks. But they claim their new formulation allows the drugs “to last years.”
But the material hasn’t been tested. We don’t know if this material will actually prove to be a good one for fillings, so these new fillings are likely many years away.
Quality Long-Lasting Fillings
Are you unhappy with your current or old fillings? Are you looking for new, attractive, tooth-colored fillings that are fitted well and designed to last?
If so, then please call (719) 545-1400 today for an appointment with a dentist at Advantage Dental Group, Pueblo’s hometown dentists for nearly 30 years.