About 92% of all adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have had at least one dental cavity. If you have had a cavity yourself and have received treatment from your local dental professional, then you may think that the decay has fully been treated in a permanent manner. This is not always the case though, and the filling may fall out. If this has recently happened to you, then find out why a filling may fail and what you should do while waiting to see your dentist for treatment.
Why Do Dental Fillings Fail?
Dental fillings can fail or be pulled out of the mouth for several different reasons. If you had a dental filling secured many years ago, then it is possible that the filling has reached its full life expectancy. For silver amalgam, the filling is likely to last about 10 to 15 years. Composite fillings will remain strong for a much shorter period of time and may need to be replaced within 5 to 7 years.
If your filling was added to one of your teeth a few years ago, then it probably does not need to be replaced due to general deterioration issues. Dental fillings are constructed to fit inside the teeth so the dentin supplies a solid structure underneath the metal or composite material. If the solid structure starts to wear away, then the filling can loosen and fall out. This often happens when a cavity forms in the tooth underneath the filling.
Sometimes, fillings are created that are quite large. If you have received one of these bigger fillings, then the silver or composite likely cannot retain a great deal of stress. This is especially true if you have a parafunctional habit. Parafunctional habits are activities that you complete that work the body in a way that it is not intended. For example, you have a parafunctional habit if you chew on pen caps throughout the day. These types of habits are typically taken into consideration when you and your dentist decide on whether a crown or a filling will be needed to repair the tooth. If you do have a chewing habit, then make sure to tell your dentist so a crown can be cemented over the tooth.
What Should You Do About A Missing Filling?
Missing fillings do need to be replaced. If you do not see your dentist right away, then the exposed dentin may wear away or become infected by another cavity. Also, the tooth will likely be painful where the dentin is exposed. Dentin is much more porous than the dental enamel, and this means it is also more sensitive to pressure as well as extreme temperature changes.
If you cannot see your dentist right away and the filling was relatively big, then go to your pharmacy and purchase a dental repair kit with a cement or putty material. You can use the compound to fill in the hole in your tooth. If you had an amalgam filling that fell out and you were able to retain the filling, then purchase a repair kit from your pharmacy with a glue that can help to secure the filling back in place. You can also use super glue to make the repair if you want.
If the filling was a smaller one, then you may not necessarily need to fill in the opening in your tooth. However, you will want to apply a topical pain reliever to help reduce your discomfort. Tea tree oil, clove oil, garlic, and colloidal silver can all help you. You will need to watch out for sharp shooting pains or severe throbbing pain if you choose to make a dental repair at home. This can indicate that the dental pulp is exposed or in distress. You should see a dentist, such as those at Plymouth Valley Dental Group, immediately if you feel these sensations.