Dental fillings are made of restorative materials that replace the natural tooth you lose because of cavities and decay. They are designed in a way so they can last for years.
However, you will need to replace all of your fillings eventually. You eat, drink, grind and clench your teeth every day and as a result, your fillings weaken or get worn out. Gradually, due to repeated vigorous activity, your filling can break and even fall out.
Let’s look at the signs of broken fillings and emergency dentistry treatments that can fix them.
Three Signs of a Broken Filling
There are three common signs of broken fillings that you need to look out for:
If you feel sudden pain in your tooth when you eat something hot or cold or bite with pressure, you might have a broken filling. This pain is usually a sharp sensation that disappears after a few seconds. Due to this pain, you might begin to avoid eating, chewing or biting on the affected side.
If you feel a hard and tiny object in your mouth after you bite down on something tough (such as nuts or popcorn kernels), you might have a broken filling. The hard objects you eat can fill the gap created by the broken filling. You may also be able to hear a “crack” sound when you bite.
Hole or Indentation
If you can feel a hole or an indentation when you run your tongue over your tooth, your filling has fallen out. This hole may also catch on the surrounding tissues and cause them to feel sore.
Why Do Fillings Break?
Our fillings break because they are under constant pressure every day from clenching, chewing, biting and grinding. These actions can cause the fillings to crack, chip or wear out. If the seal between the tooth and the filling breaks, bacteria and food particles can begin to take shelter in the filling. As a result, you run the risk of developing decay in that tooth or chipping your tooth further.
Dental Treatments to Repair Broken Fillings
You cannot fix a broken filling at home on your own, so you need to make an appointment as soon as you notice any one of the three signs of broken fillings. Call a dentist before bacteria find a way into the space created by the broken filling. If you leave your broken filling untreated, you run the risk of damaging your tooth further.
If you cannot get an appointment immediately, you can do a few things at home to minimize the pain you’re experiencing and prevent complications. You can take over-the-counter medications to lessen the painful side effects. We also recommend gargling with salt and hot water as it can cleanse the area to reduce pain. You can also use cold compresses to reduce any swelling. You can also use dental cement available at a local drugstore to temporarily cover the tooth’s surface and protect it from bacteria.
When you come in for your dental emergency appointment at Colin M. McKinney, DMD, we’ll conduct an X-ray of your tooth to determine which treatment option is best for your broken filling. We will simply replace the filling if possible. Our team will go over options for filling materials with you to help you make a decision.
At Colin M. McKinney, DMD, we leave time in the schedule for emergency dentistry issues that can arise, like such as dislodged or broken fillings. If possible, we might be able to fit you in the same day you get in touch with us! Call (772) 266-2223 to schedule your dental exam right away.