decay under a white filling question

C

careforteeth

Junior member
Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
4
Thank you to all of the dentists and moderators of this forum who have volunteered their efforts and expertise. This forum is a valuable resource that is so appreciated.

This is my first time post, after having visited this forum over the past year.
This has been a difficult year for me, which has included ongoing dental work, and for the first time ever in my life, I have developed dental anxiety, to the point where there have been times when I have had continually obsessed about the care and preservation of my teeth.

I would like to ask about the following:

In recent months, I have noticed a dark circular spot underneath one of the white fillings that I have on a lower molar. Around this white filling, on one side there is also a black line around the margins.
At a recent routine cleaning and check-up, I asked the dental hygienist as she was cleaning my teeth her thoughts about whether this black spot under the filling was possibly decay.
During the dentist’s exam, I asked her the same question about this concern.
Both of them felt that this did not look to be decay, but was more likely staining under the filling, and they did not feel that there were any obvious problems with the margins of this filling. This filling has been in this tooth for around 10 years or so, I recall, and I was told by my dentist that this filling is not that deep.
Routine x-rays were done at this exam, where my dentist did not see anything concerning.

My questions are:
Is it fairly normal to have a patch of dark staining like this under a white composite (or ceramic?) filling that is not decay? How would it get there?
Could this be decay that is not showing up on an x-ray because it is right under the filling?
When does a dentist decide to replace a filling in a case like this?
Does this warrant maybe seeking out a second opinion?

For the most part, I trust my dentist. She does tend to be more conservative and ‘wait and see’ in her approach, which is however something that I have sometimes wondered about.
With this dentist, I did have a situation in the recent past where a small filling fell out on the neighbouring tooth, where under this there actually was decay.
(I don't have a sugary diet, do not drink soda or juices, and brush and floss regularly.)

Since then, one of my ongoing dental worries has been that of decay lurking under fillings.

Thank you for any thoughts and opinions about this.
 
Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
Verified dentist
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Oct 25, 2005
Messages
7,305
1) Yep it's not unusual; depends on the filling material, diet factors and so on. Sometimes the margin between tooth and filling breaks down slightly to allow stain to build up.
2) Probably not, since 2 different professionals who have seen it have said it isn't
3) Not likely
4) Varies a lot from dentist to dentist, we'll all have our own "triggers" to intervene or not. It's not an exact science.
 
C

careforteeth

Junior member
Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
4
Thank you Gordon,
This is reassuring!....
The neighboring tooth which had decay lurking under a filling ended up resulting in a first-time root canal within the last year, where this issue has become something that I have become nervous about.
It is helpful here to know that even if there could be a slight breakdown in the margin of a filling, it might not be that big of a deal.
 
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