I’ve started with a new dentist. He told me that one of my amalgam fillings is leaking. Is this urgent enough to need to be dealt with or can I leave it?
Kaja T. from Arlington, TX
Leaky fillings, especially with amalgam fillings, do need to be dealt with. If there is a gap between the filling and the tooth, bacteria can get in there and lead to decay under the filling. This is generally called recurrent decay.
With amalgam the decay can be hidden to an extensive size. Often dentists replace an amalgam filling, not because anything looked wrong with it, but because their patient’s didn’t want any mercury in their filling, and they found unexpected decay.
This rarely happens with composite fillings (or white fillings), because it is much easier to see decay develop with them.
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