Dental fillings are intended to replace lost tooth structure. They can last for years but will eventually need to be replaced. A loose or lost filling is usually not an emergency, but it is still important to get it checked out and replaced as soon as possible. Prompt treatment can prevent the need for more extensive procedures.
Why might fillings come loose?
Teeth and their fillings are constantly being exposed to food and drink the pressure from chewing. Eventually, a dental filling will break down. When fillings fail, the seal between the filling and the tooth enamel wears away so that it no longer fits tightly into the tooth. Food particles and bacteria can get into the gap between the enamel and the filling and cause decay. The decay changes the shape of the tooth, which further widens the gap.
Recent studies have shown that smoking and drinking can cause the loss of dental fillings. Researchers have found that smokers’ fillings were more likely to fail within two years of being installed. There were no significant differences in durability between composite fillings and amalgam.
How are loose or lost fillings repaired?
The dentist will take an X-ray and examine the tooth to determine the best course of treatment. If the tooth can be restored, the dentist will determine the best type of restoration depending on the tooth’s location. A molar or premolar will get an amalgam filling or a composite and glass ionomer filling. A front tooth will get a composite and glass ionomer filling. If too much tooth structure has been lost, an implant, crown, or cap may be the best option.
Failing to get regular dental examinations can result in loose or lost fillings since a dentist will usually be able to detect them during the early stages. They will then take the necessary steps to treat any additional signs of decay in addition to replacing a lost or loose filling.
While many people experience loose or loss of dental fillings, it is vital to see the right dentist to fix the situation properly.
For the past eight years, New Jersey Monthly has voted Dr. Feldman one of the top dentists in the state.