Damaged Filling | What Should You Do Now?
What to Do When You Have a Damaged Filling
When one of your teeth sustains damage because of decay, your dentist is most likely to replace the lost tooth structure with a dental filling or dental restoration. This will help your teeth regain normal function for a number of years.
However, no dental filling is designed to last forever. It’s inevitable for your to suffer from a damaged filling at some point. Often, normal wear and tear is the cause of damage; in some cases, a person who frequently grinds or clenches their teeth can end up putting too much stress on the filling, causing it to fail and to fall out.
Why addressing the damage is important
A damaged filling, when left unchecked, can develop worn areas, cracks, or chips that can create a gap between the tooth and the filling; this gap then becomes an entry point for bacteria, which are abundant in saliva and in dental plaque (which is the thin film that forms over teeth and gums). The bacteria won’t be easy to remove by brushing your teeth, and they can cause decay to develop underneath the dental filling or along its edges.
In more severe cases, the decay can worsen and infect the dental pulp which contains nerves and the blood supply for the tooth. The dentist may then need to perform root canal treatment or even extract the tooth entirely.
What you should do
If you haven’t noticed signs of your dental filling failing yet, the best preventative solution would be to pay regular visits to the dentist as usual. Your dentist will examine your teeth and your dental device and look out for warning signs, like any weaknesses, chips or cracks in the filling.
Your dentist may use a tool called an explorer to gently feel for worn spots around the edge of the filling and determine if the filling needs replacement. X-rays or dental radiographs may also be taken to pinpoint decay underneath the filling.
On the other hand, if no signs of damage have been observed and yet one day you suddenly discover that your filling has fallen out, don’t panic. Your dental clinic will have time set aside for emergency cases, such as lost fillings, and your dentist should be able to see to your filling on the same day. After a look into your medical history and an examination, the dentist will determine the best treatment method to use.
Some damaged fillings will simply need a replacement, and your Prescott Valley dentist will talk to you about the options for the filling’s material, such as amalgam (silver) or glass ionomer and composite (tooth-colored), which are ideal for molars and premolars. Composite and glass ionomer fillings are also recommended for front teeth (canines or incisors). Other failed fillings may require a root canal, after which a crown or cap will be placed to restore the tooth. There’s also the possibility that the lost filling may require a tooth extraction.
Dental fillings help restore the integrity of your tooth, so it’s important that they are kept in the best condition possible. Remember to submit to regular dental examinations even when you don’t notice any problems arising so that discomfort, pain, and tooth loss can be prevented.