Damaged and Lost Fillings: Signs and Solutions
While fillings are an excellent solution for cavities, they are not necessarily meant to last an entire lifetime. In fact, lost or damaged fillings are a common issue, especially if your teeth continue to decay. Cracked or missing filling puts your teeth at even greater risk, so it’s essential to watch for signs of damaged fillings and get them replaced as soon as possible.
How Do Fillings Become Damaged?
Fillings get exposed to the same natural wear that your teeth face every day. Even with proper hygienic care, a filling will not usually last your entire lifetime. Instead, a you can expect a filling to last anywhere from 5 to 25 years.
Although they are made of very durable materials, such as composite resins, fillings can eventually wear down or crack from the pressure and friction of chewing. Or, if the tooth that holds the filling decays further, the filling might get loose and fall out.
Many factors can shorten a filling’s lifespan, including:
- Hard, Crunchy Foods
Chips, hard candies, and nuts can be particularly tough on fillings. Hard foods generally require greater force to bite and chew. It’s best to eat hard foods in moderation, and substitute softer alternatives instead.
Unconsciously grinding your teeth can also cause wear and pressure on your fillings. Known as bruxism, this condition has a few potential causes such as anxiety or abnormal bite patterns. If you grind your teeth while you sleep, wearing a night guard can help.
- Improper Use
Many people use their teeth as tools to open packaging or bottles. However, neither your teeth nor your fillings can handle the long-term wear and pressure caused by improper use.
What Are the Signs of a Damaged Filling?
When a filling is damaged, it will loosen and expose the sensitive inner part of the tooth (the dentin). This causes contaminants to reach the tooth’s interior, causing both tooth sensitivity and pain, which are often the first signs of a damaged filling.
You might even feel or see the damage taking place. A damaged filling might leave a visible crack, and you might notice it while brushing your teeth. Or, you might feel the hole left by a lost filling when you roll your tongue over the surface of your teeth.
What Should I Do About Damaged Fillings?
Simply put, you need to get a damaged filling removed and replaced as soon as possible. The longer you wait to replace the feeling, the likelier your tooth will suffer further damage. Your insurance will generally cover the cost of the replacement. If a filling was damaged prematurely because of a particular behavior, your dentist might offer some advice on how to prevent future damage, so your fillings can last longer.
Do You Need a Replacement Filling?
If you have experienced any signs of damaged fillings, please don’t hesitate to schedule a dentist appointment. The biomimetic dental specialists here at Prescott Dentistry can review the health of your teeth and the condition of your fillings to determine the best solution for your long-term oral health. Contact us today at 928-445-1660 or request an appointment online.
Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplas.