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Dentistry/Air bubble found in filling after xray

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Question
Hi,

I recently switched dentists because I moved and I had new x-rays of my teeth taken. In one of my old fillings the dentist found an air bubble and said he wanted me to have it redone because it's possible for bacteria to get into the air bubble if it is not completely sealed and then it can rot out the tooth from the inside out. Is this possible? Should I have it redone? Additionally, I do not have any pain of sensitivity so I am having a hard time deciding whether this is necessary or not.

Answer
Hi Sam,

First of all I must make it clear that I didn't see the tooth and the other dentist did.  So I'll just give you my opinion which I don't think you can make an important decision with.

First of all, replacing a filling is a big deal in the sense that you always end up loosing even more tooth structure.  This contributes to that cycle of breakdown and repair which all fillings fall victim to.

Second of all, I have never heard of this air bubble problem as you describe it.  Perhaps the dentist said something that was hard for anyone to comprehend.

Thirdly, the absence of pain or sensitivity would probably be enough to keep me from proceeding with the replacement if it were my tooth.  So that's it.  I'm sorry I can't give you direct advice on this, but I have no way of knowing what is going on in this unusual sounding problem.

Just as aside, I want to note that modern dentists are now aware that patching those worn out fillings, whenever possible, with a fluoride releasing repair filling, is better in the long term than replacing the entire filling.

Larry Burnett DDS
Lburnett2@comcast.net

Dentistry

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Larry Burnett DDS

Expertise

Preventative Dentistry. Conservative Periodontal Therapy

Experience

National lecturer on conservative treatment of periodontal diseases and elimination of tooth decay. Former adjunct professor of oral microbiology at a Leading school of dental hygiene. Former investigator for State Board of Dentistry. Retired from private dental practice.

Organizations
ADA

Publications
RDH Magazine. Numerous articles

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Medical College of VA School of Dentistry. 20 years teaching hygienists at NOVA

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