Do you have a discolored filling? When you have a dental fillings you may become more aware of what you eat and drink. There are a lot of reasons a filling can become discolored.

Fillings used to be a bigger deal than they are now. People would have to spend a great deal of time at their dental office.

First, the tooth would have to be drilled. Then it would be filled–traditionally with some sort of silver amalgam or a mix of metals. The process is usually painful and comes with a list of instructions to follow afterwards. Thankfully, for many people, this process can look pretty different in this day and age.

Now you can go to the dentist to get a filling and have it be done quickly and almost painlessly. When people need a filling these days, they mostly rely on fillings made out of composite resin. This is a material that is molded onto your tooth and is even the same color.

Here’s the catch with this is new, easier, tooth colored filling method. You can more easily end up with a discolored filling.

What types of fillings are there anyway?

There are a different materials that a dentist can give you based on a few things:

  • what type of decay you have
  • how deep into the tooth or root of the tooth your decay goes
  • the position in your mouth of place the filling will be

In particular, if the decay is extreme and the filling is going to be placed somewhere visible–in a front tooth for example–a composite filling makes a lot of sense. It’s less noticeable, which is appealing to most people in this situation, and is less involved in terms of procedure, pain, and time taken to complete.

If this is something you want to know more about, click here to check out a previous post all about composite fillings.

Common reasons for a discolored filling

There are different types of fillings, and the type used depends on the type of tooth decay. Let’s talk about the ways and reasons why a filling becomes discolored in the first place.

Silver Amalgam Fillings

A silver amalgam filling can become damaged or discolored. Although this is less likely to happen with this type of filling, it can begin to oxidize, changing the color of the metal in the filling.

Additionally, the seal on the filling can become damaged so food particles can become stuck between the tooth and filling. This could eventually cause further decay of the tooth.

Composite Resin Fillings

With a composite filling, the plastic in the material can break down over time, making it more porous. This means it can absorb the color of food and liquid more compared to a silver amalgam filling. This is one thing about a composite filling that may not be more advantageous than an amalgam filling. It could discolor more quickly and more substantially than the former.

If you are an avid coffee or red wine drinker, this is something you might want to consider. Anything that will stain your tooth enamel more easily, will also cause a discolored filling more easily. Healthline provides a list and some information about other foods and beverages that can easily cause discolored filling or discolored tooth enamel:

  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Berries and juices–specifically those with darker pigmentation like blackberries and blueberries
  • Tea
  • Tomato-based sauces
  • Cola or energy drinks
  • Candy and other sweets
  • Tobacco products
  • Wear and tear

Some of the things on this list are otherwise good for you and therefore shouldn’t be eliminated entirely. But it is helpful to know what foods/drinks you might consume in moderation so as to lessen the chance of a discolored filling.

What can be done about a discolored filling?

Obviously, it’s ideal to try to prevent a filling from becoming discolored in the first place. If, however, you have already found yourself with a discolored filling, there are some things you can do to remedy the situation. Here are a few solutions to a pesky and frustrating problem.

Brushing your teeth

Here is a fairly straight forward way to prevent a discolored filling or to help lessen the stain if it’s already there. It sounds and feels silly, but if you keep a toothbrush and toothpaste with you when you are out and about, it’s easy to pop into a bathroom and brush you teeth after you eat.

Rinse with water right after having a food or drink that is more likely to stain

What? Keep a toothbrush with me at all times? OK, OK. For some people and in some situations, this just won’t work. That’s understandable. If you can’t or don’t want to pocket your toothbrush, having a sip of water and swishing it around in your mouth to get some of the residue off is the next best thing.

Making an appointment with your dentist

If you have a discolored filling and you aren’t sure what else to do, you can see your provider for dental restoration. Your dentist might try filing or buffing the stain part off of your filling and, for some, this will be successful.

Unfortunately, if it does not, you might need to have your discolored filling simply replaced. it’s hard for a filling to be whitened once it’s in your tooth. Most of the time, the risk is low to replace a filling if it’s discolored although it will cost some money.

The truth about your tooth

If you have a tooth filling and you are looking for ways to prevent a discolored filling, you can and should consume some things in moderation and try to brush your teeth after doing so. If you already have a discolored filling and need to book an appointment to see what your options are, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at The Dental Institute in Bethesda. We are here for you!