Despite our best efforts, which include regular dental checkups, brushing twice per day, and flossing, many of us will still develop dental caries (cavities). Fortunately, these problems can be easily remedied with amalgam or composite (tooth-colored) dental fillings. While both of these fillings are highly durable, there is a chance that they can become damaged, which can quickly reacquaint you with tooth sensitivity and toothaches. The best way to increase the lifespan of your dental filling is by following the recommendations made by your dentist and scheduling a dental appointment at the first sign of trouble with your dental fillings. In this article, we will take a look at factors that may contribute to problems with a dental filling and how such problems can be corrected.
Tooth Sensitivity After Receiving A Dental Filling
Tooth sensitivity is not uncommon after initially receiving an amalgam or composite dental filling, and the sensitivity will usually resolve itself within a matter of days or weeks. In the interim, however, you can use desensitizing toothpaste to help relieve persistent tooth sensitivity. Some of the factors that can contribute to tooth sensitivity include exposure to sweet foods and changes in temperature. In some cases, biting down on hard foods after an initial dental filling can also trigger tooth sensitivity. Of course, if your tooth is still sensitive several weeks after getting a dental filling, it may indicate a more serious dental problem.
How To Identify A Damaged Filling
Barring a case where the filling has become detached from the tooth, a failed dental filling will have to be confirmed by a licensed dentist. However, pain around the filling that lasts for several weeks might be an indication that something is wrong. Some of the specific types of pain associated with a failed dental filling include
Sharp Pain When You Bite Down On Food
Sharp pain when you bite down on food may be an indication that your dental filling has come loose or the pulp inside of the tooth is severely damaged. It may also be a sign of an abscess or additional problems that may have compromised the structural integrity of the tooth. For example, the tooth could have hidden fractures or cracks. In these cases, your dentist may attempt to reshape the dental filling to correct these problems or recommend an alternative treatment like root canal therapy.
Persistent Throbbing Pain
Throbbing tooth pain is not uncommon when it comes to cavities; however, if you have recently had a dental filling, this type of pain may indicate that the pulp tissue inside of the tooth may be damaged. If that is the case, the dental filling will have to be removed, and a root canal will have to be performed to extract the pulp before covering the tooth with a crown.
Referred pain is pain that radiates from other areas within the oral cavity and can be felt either in the jawbone or in a specific tooth. The pain can sometimes be the result of sinusitis, throat pain, or an injury to the temporomandibular joint. Obviously, in these cases, an individual’s tooth pain will not have anything to do with the recently applied dental filling, but it would still be a good idea for them to be seen by a dentist who can help identify the source of their referred pain.
Ongoing sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages may be an indication that your dental filling has come loose or the damage to the tooth is more severe than previously diagnosed. In some cases, the cavity may have been too large to be effectively ameliorated with a traditional filling. As such, the dentist will have to reevaluate the tooth and perform an alternative restoration treatment.
What Causes Dental Fillings To Deteriorate?
Even though dental fillings are a great way to resolve cavities, they can deteriorate over time. After all, few dental restorations are as durable as your natural teeth. The very act of biting, chewing, and even clenching one’s teeth can cause fillings to become worn. This general premise applies to composite and amalgam fillings alike. Although rare, dental fillings can also fail prematurely due to improper cavity preparation when the materials were first applied to the tooth.
The best way to detect worn fillings before they give way to more serious problems is by scheduling regular dental checkups with your dentist. In addition to looking for new cavities, your dentist will be able to identify weaknesses in the fillings that may need to be addressed to prevent further dental problems. In many cases, the dentist can remove the existing dental filling, clean the tooth, and reapply dental filling material to the tooth.
If you have received a dental filling and you’re experiencing any of the symptoms detailed in this article, you’re encouraged to schedule an appointment with a licensed dentist today.