Dentist Questions Fillings

Front tooth cavity

I have a filling in between my front teeth. Obviously it is very noticeable when it becomes old or stained. I've had to get it refilled twice now so that it looks okay. Is there a more permanent option I can do instead?

46 Answers

Depending on the material used along with your eating habits (i.e., coffee, tea, smoking, etc.) the length of time a front filling can stay looking nice can vary. If you are having problems with the long term cosmetics, the other possibility would be to do porcelain laminates. Laminates would look much better much longer.
The next option for you would be asking your dentist if you are a good candidate for veneers. Fillings in front teeth tend to stain, especially if eating foods that cause staining. Always drink water after having foods like tomato sauce, coffee, red wine, or tea.

Lara Bacchelli
Without an xray and an exam it is difficult to determine but just based on what you are describing there is a very high chance that the extent of the existing filling is too large and may warrant for a more indirect restoration like a veneer or a crown. Also the occlusion (Bite) needs to be checked and adjusted as necessary.
Hope this helps.
Devang Shah, DMD
Please call us directly. We would love the opportunity to help.

Definitely! You have a choice between a veneer or a crown. It all depends on your particular circumstance. Feel free to call and speak to me. I am personally available to speak to my patients at 1pm everyday I am in the office. 201-991-1228

The longevity of fillings is determined by the size of the cavity, the amount of remaining tooth structure, the structural integrity of the tooth, and the kind of forces that the person puts on the tooth both through normal chewing/biting forces and parafunctional forces (activities done with the teeth that are beyond the normal purposes of masticating and talking).

Depending on your situation, a filling may be the best and most conservative way to restore the tooth if there is ample remaining tooth left and forces applied to the tooth are low to moderate. While veneers and crowns are strong and long lasting restorations, they should be utilized as last resorts when other treatment options have failed or there is insufficient remaining tooth left or the biting or parafunctional forces are too high. Healthy tooth most of the time needs to be removed to do veneers and crowns. And once a dentist cuts away part of a tooth, it is gone forever. Sometimes, though, it is necessary.

I know this doesn't directly answer your question. But in all honesty there are many variables to consider when we restore teeth. It's not just "drill and fill". Keep your treatment as conservative as possible until you have to upgrade.

Michael I. Farr, DMD, FICOI
You could crown it. However, with today's plastic technology, if the filling is not too big, you should be able to match it perfectly. You can photograph the tooth and post it so I can see of it is a particularly difficult tooth to match.
I am not sure how much of your tooth is filling. However, a porcelain veneer is like a crown, but it only covers the front of the tooth and the biting edge. You may be a candidate for this. Porcelain is less likely to stain than tooth colored fillings. See your dentist and ask about your options.

I hope that this helps.
If you are looking for a more permanent option, you should consider a porcelain veneer or crown. The advantage to this is the durability - whereas a filling will need to be replaced every few years, a crown/veneer can last 25 years or more. You will pay for this benefit, though; a veneer or crown can cost $800 or more.
A porcelain veneer or even an all porcelain crown would be a longer lasting restoration, however, that may be a drastic decision based on the size of the filling if the filling is relatively small try lessening the chances of discoloration avoiding really abrasive toothpastes along with highly intensely colored foods such as red wine boysenberries, blueberries etc. will stain the filling quicker
Yes, you can place a porcelain veneer or crown on the tooth instead because the porcelain will never stain or change color.
Unfortunately, nothing is permanent in life, including restorative dental work.

Restorations on teeth are subject to so many elements in the mouth. Composite resin restorations are the most commonly used restorative materials on teeth. They are bonded to teeth and over time, the bonding breaks down and deteriorates, allowing for entry of bacteria between the composite and the tooth. This results in the staining that we see around restorations.

The average life span of composite resin restorations on teeth are between 8-15 years depending on many variables such as your oral hygiene and salivary make up. Some patients finds that their restorations require replacement more frequently as a result.

Some restorations can be polished to prolong the time before it requires replacement. Depending on the size and extent of the restoration, a veneer or a crown on a tooth may provide a more definitive restoration for the tooth. But even then, a veneer or a crown may also require replacement in the future.

The most important and best thing one can do is good oral home care and regular maintenance dental appointments for prevention.
There are other options, you will need to come in for an exam, as every patient needs are different. Please call the office to schedule.

The size of the filling really will determine the best restoration. If it is too large to replace the filling then a porcelain veneer or crown is the next best choice
Yes porcelain veneers or crowns are a permanent solution. Please call my office for a consult to tell you your options.
There are several options, possibly polishing the existing restoration will remove the staining, providing there is no additional decay. The other alternatives are veneers or full coverage crowns. Both are excellent long term solutions. We would need to evaluate the situation to determine what restoration would work best for you.
Thank you

Dr. David Wagner
Yes you can do veneers, or 3/4 crowns, which will cover front and side of the teeth. With today technology it is painless, predictable and long lasting treatment of the defected front teeth.
Yes there are permanent solutions. I can help you decide what to do and would be happy to discuss the 3 options available. Please call me at 313-8615759 to make an appointment.
Look forward to seeing you,
Dr. Warren Johnson
The most conservative treatment is filling. You also have the option of porcelain veneer which doesn't stain.
Depending on the size of the cavity & the extent of it, it might be advisable to have porcelain crowns on those 2 teeth. Discuss that option with your primary dentist.
Yes. Based on the history of your front teeth, a crown or a veneer can be a permanent solution depending on how much tooth structure is left. An X-ray and a full exam is needed to best diagnosed your concern.
The most obvious solutions are veneers or crowns ... these are porcelain and will resist stains and colors. Another option is a resin like you currently have but using an invisible margin the dentist pulls the resin into the contacts thereby achieving a homogenous fill which will resist much of the staining!! Hope this helps!
Yes, you can have a porcelain veneer or crown placed. If placed correctly and cleaned well, the edges of the veneer or crown will not be easily visible or stained, even with age.
Each time you have a filling replaced there is more tooth structure that is removed. Composite resin fillings are wonderful until they become too big. They can become porous and pick up stain and also start to pull away from the margin of the tooth and also pick up stain at that point too. One alternative could be to place a veneer on the face of the tooth. This can be very thin and very cosmetic while maintaining Integrity with the tooth and strength.
A composite (white tooth colored) filling is a glorified resin or plastic type of material. As you can imagine, the area where the plastic is bonded to the tooth can break down over time, resulting in leaking, staining, and a less than ideal esthetic appearance. A longer lasting option to consider would be the use of a porcelain material. Depending on the amount of tooth structure you are missing and the location of the cavity, a veneer or a crown might be an option. This option places the area where the restoration and the tooth meet out of the aesthetic view and typically lasts much longer as well.
You can always crown or veneer your front (anterior) teeth. However, color matching composite fillings are done usually to maintain more of the natural tooth structure. Generally, dentists recommend doing procedures that are minimally invasive and try to avoid extensive preparations to preserve natural tooth structure as long as possible.
Fillings do tend to stain over time, more permanent options can be looked into such as Veneers (porcelain). Each person's treatment may be different depending on your bite and your teeth, but a consultation with a good cosmetic dentist may be a good start.
You can do veneers or crowns and it won't change anymore.
You may want to consider porcelain veneers or crown if the filling is large. Both options should last many years and be very color stable
Yes. Porcelain a porcelain veneer or a crown can be placed on a tooth with a large restoration. Porcelain will last much longer than filling material and it will not stain.
It all depends on how large the filling is and how you may or may not want to change your lifestyle habits. If the filling is very large, a veneer or a crown my be necessary to cover the area with a stronger restoration that will not stain. But if the filling is smaller, those other options would be too invasive. Then another filling is necessary. Please know that tooth-colored fillings are all a form of plastic, and that material is actually porous, and will eventually soak up stain from drinking or eating dark things like colas, root beer, red wine, tomato sauce, blueberries and dark chocolate. Also, smoking contributes greatly to the staining. If you do a lot of those things, expect your fillings to stain over time. Some patients only get 3 to 5 years of of life with that type of filling. But new materials are being developed everyday, and there may be a new product that would last longer. I just saw a promising one this week and will be ordering some for use in situations involving constant staining.
The best you can do is try to maintain the filling for as long as you can by avoiding staining foods/drinks/smoking right on that tooth. Use of a straw and little frequency of bathing the teeth with such things as soda/coffee/wine/smoking/blueberries can get more life out of a filling. Rinse with water and use of flouride mouthrinse to harden the teeth to make them more resistant to acid erosion from those drink/foods/smoking. And if smoking, it is always best to stop.
As teeth incur multiple Restorations over a period of many years the preparation of these teeth weakens the tooth and makes the feeling unstable. Despite our new resins being a remarkable quality and duration even the best front filling that is tooth colored in nature only last about 7 years especially with coffee and other stains. Discuss with your dentist the next time you have a check up with permanent coverage utilizing a porcelain jacket. The shade can be matched perfectly and a minimal amount of two structure will need to be reduced to fully cover like a jacket the tooth permanently and give you a lifetime solution.
There are many more permanent options such as crowns or veneers. But front teeth are extremely technique sebsetive. Your dentist must evaluate your bite (occlusion) in every possible position and movement and if necessary obtain a diagnostic model. Breaking front veneers or crowns can have bad consequence that surpasses time and money wasted. Color and shape harmony matching with your natural teeth is always another issue to consider. I strongly recommend if you decided to go that route make sure your Dentist is experienced in front teeth restoration and esthetic.
One of the more favorite permanent options for this type of teeth is emax cosmetic multilayered crown.
Hello, studies have shown that a tooth will withstand having a filling done up to three times before it needs a root canal. Depending on the size and depth of the filling, sometimes a veneer is a more permanent option. Porcelain does not stain and can last many many years. This way the tooth is left alone for a long period of time and the nerve can recover from the trauma of the drill.
Yes, you could do a crown or veneer
If the filling is done well, it should last at least ten years , find a dentist that can do a better job
If the filling is small, composite/bonding is recommended. Bonding is conservative and least expensive. If the filling is large, you should discuss the possibility of porcelain veneers. These are more color stable, but also require preparation and are more expensive. The best information you can receive would be to have a consultation with your dentist.
Yes, the more permanent solution would be to get a veneer instead.
Composite fillings do chip, wear, and discolor over time which will require replacement to keep them looking good. Porcelain veneers or crowns are another option to consider depending on the size of the defect, the length of time the filling looks good, and biting forces on the restoration. Talk to your dentist to review your options and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.
Yes, if there is enough support, veneers are a very good alternative with excellent cosmetic appeal.
Lab-made filling or veneers stain less.
Depending upon the size of the filling needing to be replaced, there is always a porcelain veneer that can be placed over the front of the entire tooth...but this would only be an option if the filling is quite large. If it is small, dental materials are constantly being improved, so fillings are lasting longer and blending better. Having the filling polished periodically will also keep the surface from becoming rough and picking up the stains, that you mentioned.
You may want to consider veneers or crowns.
To make a filling last longer, you can avoid foods that stain teeth like red wine, italian foods with marinara sauces, sodas, and avoiding smoking for those that smoke. More permanent solutions are veneers that last for a long time with proper hygiene.