Good oral hygiene is not only vital to your overall physical health, but also to your self-esteem. When something in your mouth is hurting, it can affect your eating, your smile, and your mood.
There can be several types of issues that can create pain in and around your mouth. One common cause of discomfort can be your fillings.
There are several types of materials dentists use for fillings, including composite and Amalgam. These types of materials are strong, but whether new or old, may sometimes have problems and cause painful issues.
When problems do occur, it’s best to have them taken care of as soon as possible before more serious circumstances arise. Knowing what to look for can help you determine if there is a problem.
Here are three signs your filling is in need of repair.
Pain or Sensitivity
After a new filling is in place, there may be sensitivity around the tooth for a couple of weeks following the procedure. It’s common for the area around the filling to become sensitive to things like pressure on the tooth, sugary substances, airflow over the tooth such as from inhaling and exhaling, and hot or cold foods.
Certain issues with your new filling may cause extended pain or sensitivity. Gaps may appear between the filling and the tooth due to shrinkage of the material. This can cause the tooth and gum to become sensitive.
Some substances used for fillings, such as Amalgam, may “leak” after the procedure. Over a couple of weeks, the filling should naturally start to wear down and conform to your tooth, closing up any leaks. During this time the tooth could be extremely sensitive.
The pain should go away in a couple of weeks. If not, it’s time for another dental visit. Leaks in fillings can cause particles and germs to get in, which could lead to a larger cavity or other health issues.
Sometimes, a filling may be too “high.” This means a part of the material is jutting out above the tooth. This can cause pain when biting down.
A filling may also have a sharp edge that can hurt when chewing. Your dentist will need to either smooth out the filling or replace the material for a better fit in your tooth.
Cracks or Chips Appear
Old or new fillings may become cracked or chipped. New fillings may crack when you bite down if they are too high, stick out above the tooth, or have an unrefined edge.
Small cracks may also appear due to the general wear and tear of chewing or biting. Overall, good quality fillings can last approximately five to 15 years.
You can also crack or chip a filling if you clench or grind your teeth. This type of behavior in excess is called Bruxism. The Mayo Clinic states Bruxism is when you grind, clench or gnash your teeth together either while awake or asleep.
This constant pressure of your teeth against each other can cause a crack or chip in a filling or the tooth itself. In serious cases, teeth grinding can cause the filling or tooth to fall out.
Cracks in a filling can allow food particles and bacteria to get in under the material. This could cause more tooth decay and other oral health issues such as an abscessed tooth, which may require a root canal to repair.
The Filling Falls Out
Although not a common occurrence, your filling could fall completely out. If you bite down hard on a large filling, you may break the filling or the tooth. If the material used is not strong enough or not adequate for your oral situation, it could split.
During the dental procedure, saliva may get into the cavity or the filling. This could disrupt the bonding between the material and the tooth causing the filling to be too loose and fall out.
When a filling actually falls out, it’s a must that you get to your dentist as soon as possible. Just as with a cracked filling, food particles and bacteria can get into the tooth where the filling had been protecting it. This could lead to a larger cavity or an infection in the tooth or surrounding gums.
Seek Help From Your Dentist
Problems can arise in a filling whether it’s brand new or many years old. An issue with the material can cause the filling to crack, leak or fall out. This may cause pain, sensitivity or an infection in the tooth, gums and surrounding area.
You can keep these issues at bay by taking care of your fillings. Of course, if any issues arise, getting to the dentist is a must once any of they occur.
Knowing what to look for will help you to safeguard your teeth and oral health. A professional dental office, such as Aesthetic Family Dentistry, can explain problems that may arise from a filling, evaluate any you may be having an issue with, and do any repair work as needed.
If you are having problems with your filling, contact us. Our professionally trained staff can offer you the information you need about fillings, and the signs to look for to tell if they are in need of repair.