While eating, have you ever felt a foreign substance in your mouth that was not part of your food? It may have been a cavity filling that has fractured and fallen off. When this occurs, don't panic. Instead, promptly contact your dentist who will determine the best way to address the problem. Here's what you need to know about broken cavity fillings, along with a few considerations and warnings.
What Is a Dental Filling?
Dental restorations, commonly known as dental fillings, are used for replacing tooth structures that have been destroyed because of decay.
Although they normally last for several years, sometimes dental fillings have to be replaced. Some of the main causes are tooth grinding, chewing or clenching, which can create continual pressure on dental fillings.
What to Do and Expect
Again, if you have a dental filling that becomes fractured, try to stay calm, but contact your dentist immediately. As this is considered an emergency, your dentist will probably see you right away. After reviewing your medical history and answering questions about your symptoms, X-rays will be done.
Once your dentist has examined your tooth and reviewed the X-rays, he or she will decide on the best way to treat the condition. If another filling can be used for restoring the tooth, your dentist will discuss the various choices, regarding filling materials.
Sometimes, a root canal, along with a cap or crown, is needed. In the worst cases, a tooth extraction may be required.
Options for Filling Materials
There are several options, regarding materials. The three main materials include composite fillings, amalgam fillings and glass ionomers.
Composite fillings are usually composed of acrylic resin and powdered glass. One huge benefit of a composite filling is that it isn't obvious because a dentist can match the shade of a patient's existing teeth.
Amalgam fillings are the least expensive option. Another advantage is that they're considerably durable and can last for a long time. But they're not the best cosmetic choice because their silver color makes them more noticeable.
Mercury makes up about half of their composition with the other materials consisting of copper, tin, zinc or silver. Some people don't want a filling made from mercury even though the mercury level has been determined as safe by the FDA.
Glass ionomer fillings, which are somewhat weaker, are commonly used on children's primary teeth. It forms a chemical bond with a tooth and may release fluoride, which is helpful in preventing further tooth decay. They're also used for filling in tiny decayed areas.
When dentists use this filling material on permanent teeth, they often place it in areas that are subjected to a lot of wear and tear from chewing.
Considerations and Warnings
- It's critical to get regular dental checkups, so your dentist can detect any potential issues with your fillings.
- What's more, dental visits can also be an opportunity for learning how to properly care for your teeth so that bacterial plaque, which is the main cause of decayed teeth, can be controlled.
- Often, new fillings that break or fall out can be the result of chewing trauma. They can also be caused by faulty cavity preparation.
- On the other hand, older fractured fillings can be due to tooth decay.
- A glass ionomer filling makes the best choice for a front tooth.
- For a tooth located in the back of your mouth, an amalgam filling is the best option because of its durability against chewing forces.
- Additionally, amalgam fillings, which are more noticeable, are ideal for the back teeth as they are hidden.
- Ignoring a fractured dental filling can result in needing a root canal. It can even lead to tooth loss.
For all your dental needs, contact the dental office of Dr. William Linger. As a highly trained and experienced dentist, Dr. Linger is passionate about providing the best dental care and most advanced procedures and technology for the Charlotte community.
Please set up an appointment with us and find out more about our wide range of dental services.