You’ve probably had dental fillings before. They're a common treatment for cavities and tooth decay. Fillings help restore the structure and function of your teeth, allowing you to chew and speak comfortably. However, like any dental restoration, fillings can fall over time. If you're experiencing problems with an old filling, it's essential to know what steps to take to address the issue and protect your oral health.
Signs of a Failing Filling
One of the first signs that your old filling might be failing is sensitivity or pain in the affected tooth. You might notice discomfort when biting down or consuming hot or cold foods and beverages. Additionally, if you see any visible cracks or chips in the filling, it's a clear indication that it needs attention. Other signs include changes in the color of the filling or a rough texture on the surface.
When you notice any of these signs, it's crucial to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Ignoring a failing filling can lead to further damage, such as tooth decay or even tooth loss.
Causes of Filling Failure
Several factors can contribute to the failure of a dental filling. The most common cause is simply the passage of time. Over the years, the constant pressure from chewing and biting can weaken the filling material, causing it to break or become loose. Poor oral hygiene, such as inadequate brushing and flossing, can also contribute to filling failure by allowing bacteria to accumulate and cause decay around the filling.
In some cases, a filling may fail due to trauma, such as a hard blow to the face or a sports injury. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can also put excessive pressure on fillings and lead to their failure.
Treatment Options for Failing Fillings
When a filling fails, the appropriate treatment will depend on the extent of the damage and the overall condition of the tooth. In some cases, a simple replacement of the filling may be sufficient. Your dentist will remove the old filling, clean the area, and place a new one to restore the tooth's function and appearance.
However, if the tooth has significant decay or structural damage, a more extensive treatment may be necessary. This could involve a dental crown, which covers the entire tooth, providing additional support and protection. In severe cases, a root canal may be required to remove infected pulp and save the tooth.
Preventing Filling Failure
While fillings can eventually fail due to natural wear and tear, there are steps you can take to prevent premature failure. Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Avoid chewing on hard objects like ice or using your teeth as tools, as this can put excessive stress on fillings.
If you grind your teeth, consider wearing a nightguard to protect your fillings and prevent further damage. Additionally, discussing any concerns or changes in your oral health with your dentist promptly can help catch and address filling issues before they become more significant problems.
Get in Contact with Us
If you suspect that your old filling is failing or if you have any dental concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to Dr. Jonathan Feller at Columbia River Dental. Our experienced team is here to provide the highest quality dental care and address any issues you may be facing. Call (541) 296-2581 to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards a healthier, more confident smile.