Dentist Questions Fillings

Do fillings need to be replaced?

I have a filling in between my front teeth which I've had to get replaced a couple times due to staining. But it made me wonder if I should get my other 3 fillings replaced (in the back of my mouth)?

20 Answers

If it's not broken don't fix it. Every time you remove a filling you lose a little tooth structure and run the risk of sensitivity or nerve damage
Fillings can be made from a variety of materials. Direct fillings, silver and its tooth colored counterparts composite, last an average of nine years. Indirect materials, gold and its tooth colored counterpart ceramic, last indefinitely. Direct fillings are less costly short term but expensive long term; whereas indirect materials are more costly short term but less expensive long term because it’s a one time expense. From a health perspective indirect fillings are better because you do not periodically redrill the same tooth.
Fillings do not necessarily need to be replaced within a certain time frame. Those that develop staining could potentially be leaking and could result in problems that need to be addressed.
Fillings should be replaced when they are breaking down, develop recurrent decay, or if they are in the front (are visible) and are stained. Otherwise, no.

It sounds like the fillings had been replaced because of cosmetic reasons. Since the back teeth are not as noticeable as the front teeth, it is usually not recommended for regular replacement of fillings in back teeth, unless it's recommended by your dentist due to defect or cavities under the filling. Hope this helps.

Dr. Kathleen Young
Hey! That's a great question! While I don't recommend unnecessarily replacing fillings when they have reached a "best before" date, it is of great importance to see your dentist regularly and have diagnostic imaging (x-rays, photos and scans) of the teeth taken on a sufficiently regular basis (normally every 18 months) to ensure that those fillings in the back of your mouth won't turn into big holes - sometimes without any signs or symptoms! The fillings in your front teeth, as a general rule, are replaced.more frequently because of the higher aesthetic demand of fillings in your smile. Since people rarely see the ones at the back, cosmetic surface stains are less of a concern.
Yes, the fillings need to be replaced if they get recurrent decay that means if there is decay in relation to the old filings, then they need to be replaced.
Two important points. If you have used low toxic biocompatible restorative material like bonded composite, then the filling should be adequate in the posterior areas of the mouth as long as there is no tooth decay. However, all composites over time do break down and do stain which your dentist needs to check for with periodic oral examination.
Fillings can break down over time. Sometimes you can get new cavities that can start at the junction between your tooth and your filling. To clean these cavities, fillings typically may need to be replaced. However, just because a filling is a certain age does not necessarily mean it needs to be taken out and replaced. Your dentist will be able to assess your existing fillings with the help of X-rays to determine if your fillings need to be replaced.
They only need to be replaced if there is more decay present, cracked or stained. If 100% still intact, then they are good as is.

Tristan Schaffer
Just because a filling is old doesn't mean it has to be replaced. If bitewing xrays and an intraoral exam show nothing wrong, and you are free of symptoms, I'd say they're fine.
No. A filling does not need to be replaced just because it reaches a certain age (5 years old, 10 years old, etc.) A filling done well can last a LONG time. However, if the filling starts to leak so bacteria can get under the filling, it is time to have the filling replaced. The filling also needs to be replaced if part of the filling (or part of the tooth around the filling) chips/breaks. Your dentist checks for these problems during the oral exam and will inform you when it is time to have an old filling replaced.
All dental work has a life expectancy. Your dentist should tell you when your feelings are beginning to leak and need replacing. Most feelings have a long life expectancy but sometimes, particularly in the front, they are replaced more frequently. You have to trust your dentist on this one and that’s why it’s important to go on a regular basis.
Only replace them when they break or if decay occurs around them. On front teeth this can be indicated also if the color starts to change. For treatment of this problem or to meet your other dental needs, call the dental office of Dr. Brad Emery, Dr. Nicholas Emery and Dr. Carol Scuro, at 585-247-7110. Or check out our website at
It really depends on the case. Sometimes fillings could be re-polished to remove stains. There could be many other reasons that fillings need to be replaced. If you think it is just staining that is bothering you then you need to discuss it with your dentist.
Unless necessary it is not required to replace all fillings. Necessary means presence of cavity, possible leakage which could cause cavity, sensitivity, discoloration and esthetic according to patients feeling regarding discoloration, cracked, broken and such. If you’re front restorations changing color you may want to use hydrogen peroxide for human consumption ( health stores have it) at night after eating and brushing. Maintenance is better than replacement, every replacement requires further tooth structure removal and additional issues in future. Keep in mind I am also very conservative. Replacing a filling may only require extremly little reduction of the previous restoration not the entire filling, the back can always be sanded and polished.
Dental fillings whether they are silver or composite resin have a finite lifespan and your dentist will evaluate the quality of the seal of the restoration and determine when it should be replaced or repaired.
Different Dental materials have different longevity depending on your diet and your bite itself. Usually the front Restorations being synthetic and silica it in origin they pick up staying easier than the metal amalgam fillings in the back of your mouth which tend to need to replace every 7 to 10 years. They incur marginal breakdown which leads to leakage there for bacteria the front teeth appear to have less leakage problem but are more prone to stain since they're in the front of the mouth.
Usually average life span of a filling is 7-10 years. Depending on size, location, stress on filling and tooth some fillings fail sooner and some last longer. Fillings on front teeth might need to be changed for cosmetic reasons alone. With out doing an exam and reviewing your xrays, it is impossible to tell. Talk to your dentist next time you see him.
Usually stains in the back doesn't require replacement unless there are decay under the filling.