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Can Stains Be Polished From Tooth Colored Dental Fillings?

Do I have to have a new filling or can this one be polished?

Many times teeth and tooth colored fillings become stained from different foods and beverages. It is the nature of tooth colored dental fillings – sometimes called white fillings or composite restorations – that they will discolor and stain as they age. Over time the edges of dental restorations or fillings may become more noticeable and rougher. Roughness attracts bacteria and food particles which increases the likelihood of the area becoming stained over time. The stains really show up on tooth colored fillings, but this happens with silver amalgam fillings as well. You just notice the discoloration more with the tooth colored fillings. What was once a filling that matched the surrounding tooth structure, is now dark and noticeable. If the stain is on a front tooth and in the ‘smile zone’ it detracts from your nice smile and often looks like tooth decay.

Note the round stained filling on this patient's front tooth

If you notice staining around your fillings it is best to have your teeth and fillings or restorations evaluated by a dentist. Your tooth may actually be decayed and the tooth colored filling will need to be replaced. Sometimes however, it may be possible to polish some of the stain away and this will also make the tooth colored filling last longer! Tooth whitening treatments or tooth bleaching can be used to lighten the color of tooth enamel, but bleaching will not change the color or your tooth colored fillings or crowns. In the case of white fillings that have stained, the solution your dentist is likely to offer is to replace them. Looking close at these photos you may also notice stained fillings between the teeth.

Close up of stained restoration on front tooth.

In our office, we try to be conservative with dental treatment when this is appropriate. If there is no active decay present below the tooth colored filling we will often offer to polish these areas for our patients to help the restoration last longer.

The same restoration after polishing looks much better!

We love to give our patient’s information and options about their dental treatment – cosmetic or otherwise!

Dr. Gillis has advanced training in cosmetic dentistry and is an Accredited Dentist with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Our office is dedicated to helping you save your teeth and helping you to maintain a healthy mouth. We would be happy to answer your questions about your fillings, smile, porcelain veneers, cosmetic dentistry, options for your treatment and your dental health! Please visit us on Facebook (see Julie M Gillis DDS PC) or call us (970) 242-3635 if you have any questions or concerns. You can also email our office at jgillis@rosemontdev.com for further information. Our office website is www.juliegillisdds.com.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth, Restoring Smiles