Well…sometimes composite fillings can become stained or become more yellow with time. When this happens, patients often ask about replacing these fillings. It is not usually necessary to replace a discolored or stained filling. If the filling is intact and well sealed, then only the surface might need to be cleaned with a fine diamond bur to remove the superficial stain or yellow color. This process should make the filling white again the you may not need to replace your filling.
Why does this surface staining or discoloration happen? Composite fillings are made partly of plastic resin and this resin can at least at the surface become porous and can either pick up stains or appear more yellow. Fortunately this discoloration is often just on the surface and after removing a few microns of the composite it appears “refreshed . Assuming that a tooth is still well filled, having its length of service extended is a good thing, since more frequent refilling may make it more likely that the tooth will eventually require a crown or a root canal.
Patients can help themselves extend the life expectancy of their tooth colored composite restorations by having excellent oral hygiene, since composite fillings that are kept clean tend to exhibit less staining and discoloration. Using your tooth brush and floss properly will tend to keep these fillings looking good and maintain their proper color.