Large filling(s) on first molar failing. How to go about it?



Junior member
Jan 20, 2020
Hi all, I have severe dental anxiety, due to trauma with a psychopathic dentist in my childhood.

Long story short, I had this tooth filled with an amalgam 20 years ago, then about 15 years ago replaced with a composite. It has a deep filling that encompasses the entirety of the occlusal surface of the tooth. Then, about 10 and 3 years ago tiny fillings were added onto this tooth. So the entire occlusal surface is a composite filling along with some filling on a side, with a total of three fillings pretty much in one. There was some recurrent decay on the margins of this tooth, I wish the whole thing was just re-done years ago but what is done is done. I will try and get photos if you would like.

The tooth is slightly sensitive. I can see that same thin black line on the edge of the filling that I had when I needed another composite replaced just a year ago, and it felt the same way... that dull sensitive feeling. You all helped me a lot and I found a wonderful dentist who specializes in dental phobia patients and got that taken care of.

He did not seem to want to replace the filling with a composite. He basically said that the filling was so large that he didn't think it was a good idea. He mentioned something about an inlay(didn't seem thrilled with this) or onlay, or a crown. I really don't want a crown. Given that the filling(s) on this tooth are old and it's got a lot of work done to it, and the filling is deep, what would you say sounds reasonable? The last thing I want to do is excessive dental work if not needed.. i.e. a crown. I wonder if an onlay would suffice?

I have OCD and really don't want a large porcelain crown glued into a fraction of a tooth in my mouth. I would go nuts with the gumline and whatnot, flossing around it, etc. I am praying I can avoid one. I know it's not the end of the world either way but with my issues I am fairly certain it would drive me insane if I could tell it were there. Is an only a reasonable choice in this circumstance?

I have a routine appointment in a month where I will discuss this again with my dentist. I love the guy, he is a miracle worker and so kind, but I just would like more reassurance or suggestions on the least invasive course of action, regardless of cost. Thank you.


Staff member
Verified dentist
Oct 25, 2005
There's a limit to how big a filling can be, if they get too big they just keep failing. If this one has reached the limit then an inlay or a crown would be better.