Dental fillings can last for many years, but eventually, they need to be replaced. Constant stress from eating and drinking, clenching the jaw, or grinding the teeth, can cause fillings to fail. Changes in tooth colour may only be cosmetic, but a broken seal can lead to bigger problems like tooth decay. You should see a dentist right away if you experience any of the following warning signs that your filling needs to be replaced.
1. The Filling is Cracked
Biting down on hard or chewy material can cause a filling to crack or break. You may even notice a piece of filling in your mouth if this happens. Check your teeth in the mirror to see if you can determine which tooth was affected.
Your local pharmacy should have a temporary filling material or filling repair kit that you can use to fill in any gaps or cracks while you wait to see your dentist. Fillings that feel rough when you run your tongue over them are also showing signs of wear, as fillings should feel smooth.
2. Your Tooth Hurts
You might not see visible damage to your filling, but any type of pain in your tooth is a bad sign that bacteria might be infecting the dental pulp. The pulp contains the tooth’s nerve and blood supply. This can lead to the need for a root canal or result in the loss of the tooth.
3. You Have Tooth Sensitivity
If you feel sharp pain or discomfort when eating hot or cold food or drinks, this could be an early sign of tooth decay. Chemical triggers such as sweet food or cold air can cause discomfort, which usually stops once the stimulus is removed.
Teeth can become sensitive after dental work, including treatment with fillings. If you develop sensitivity around older fillings, it’s time to make an appointment with your dentist.
4. Filling Discolouration
Dental fillings can be made from tooth-coloured material such as composite resin, glass ionomer cement, or porcelain. These are all popular alternatives to traditional dental amalgam fillings which are more durable but less attractive.
Dental amalgam is comprised of a combination of silver, copper, tin, and mercury. With amalgam fillings, more of the tooth structure is cut away. Unlike composite resin, amalgam doesn’t bond to the surface of the tooth.
However, over time, tooth-coloured fillings such as composite resin can become discoloured. Getting your teeth whitened can make composite and porcelain fillings look yellow and dingy. The only remedy, in this case, is to replace the old filling with a new one.
5. Bad Breath and Bad Tastes
Everyone experiences bad breath from time to time. Chronic bad breath, or a foul taste that persists even after brushing and flossing your teeth, could indicate a filling has failed and tooth decay has set in.
How to Take Care Of Dental Fillings To Last Longer
The life span of your dental fillings depends on how well you take care of them. The Australian Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice each day and cleaning between teeth with dental floss once a day.
In some situations, a dentist may place temporary fillings in the teeth. This occurs when multiple visits are needed to complete the dental work. Glass ionomer cement is often used for this purpose.
Get A New Filling in Mosman
Don’t wait until the throbbing pain of a toothache keeps you up at night or that extra crunch in your cereal turns out to be your dental filling. Regular dental examinations are important for detecting early signs of weakness in the dental filling material, which can prevent costly procedures or the unfortunate loss of an entire tooth. Book Your Dental Appointment Today.