Stained fillings cannot be whitened, they must be replaced to correct.
There are a couple of reasons why you have stained fillings.
Firstly, the plastic that they are made of slowly breaks down over time. So the surface of the filling becomes rough and porous. Hence the older the filling, the greater the chance of staining.
The second main cause of stain is the join between the filling and the tooth. It must be super smooth and perfectly glued to the tooth.
If it has not been polished until it is super smooth, and there is even the tiniest bit of ledge at the join, food and plaque will trap and you will get either a brown or black line.
If the surface of the tooth is not perfectly cleaned of all plaque and stain before placing the filling, then the glue will not stick properly and the stain will leach under the filling.
If the tooth is not perfectly dry when the filling was placed, it will stain more quickly. This is why most of the time we will seal a tooth with a rubber sheet called a rubber dam. If your dentist does not use a rubber dam over the tooth, ask them if they can or consider finding a dentist who does. Rubber dam is considered ideal for the placement of white fillings by every dental teacher in the world.
Lastly, some of the glues used for fillings that are aimed at the quick and easy end of the market do not stick to enamel very well. These glues will go yellow very quickly.
In most cases, the treatment for a stained filling is to replace it with meticulous technique. In some cases, where there are many fillings in every tooth, it may be better to replace the filling with a ceramic veneer or crown that covers most of the tooth and reduces the number of joins with the tooth.
The other reason we sometimes replace it with ceramic is because ceramics tend not to stain even after decades.
Replacing stained fillings ranges from $220 – $544 depending on the size of the filling. If it is replaced with ceramic it costs about $1890 per tooth. Your health fund really cares very little about the attention to detail that your fillings are done too. The main criteria they have when they choose a dentist is that the dentist agrees to fees lower than average. The price that dentists charge is roughly proportional to how long they can spend on the procedure.
Whether you think a dentist can do the same quality in less time is up to you.
There are not a lot of risks to replacing stained fillings.
If the filling is deep, the tooth may have an abscess already or other problems with the nerve. Doing any sort of procedure can make these problems apparent a year or two earlier than they would have otherwise. So occasionally replacing the work uncovers problems from years ago that need addressing.
Hence, there is a small chance you will need to have the nerve tissue removed in a procedure called root canal therapy.
Each time something is replaced, a bit more tooth structure gets lost. This can weaken the tooth. If there is very little tooth structure left, the tooth becomes likely to fracture.
People who grind their teeth heavily (anyone with worn and flattened teeth) are at risk of chipping or breaking their fillings or ceramics on their front teeth. It’s worth such people having a bite guard.
Read more about Teeth Whitening here.
Dr Linc is available at Harris Dental Boutique Bargara dental practice near Bundaberg Monday to Friday at Shop 2/16 See Street Bargara Q 4670. There is usually appointment times available each day to see new patients or dental emergencies. Give the front office team a call on 07 4158 5813 to organise a time that suits you Contact Us for more information or book an appointment with Dr Linc in Bargara near Bundaberg.