Have you lost a filling? There’s no need to panic. Placing and replacing dental fillings is the most common restorative procedure done in many general dental offices near San Jose. In most cases it is relatively painless and easy to do. Although not usually a serious emergency, it is best not to delay in scheduling an appointment because the tooth may continue to break until it is strengthened with a new filling.
Dental fillings have varying life spans which depend on the conditions present when placing the original filling, the strength of your bite and the level of oral hygiene practiced at home. There are two main types of dental filling material. The oldest type is silver amalgam. Although in many cases amalgam fillings are very durable, most patients prefer white tooth colored fillings. The quality of materials and durability of tooth colored white fillings has improved in recent years. During your dental emergency appointment, you will be advised on the best material for your tooth.
Old fillings may begin to leak around the margins, which is the area where the filling meets the natural tooth. This microscopic leakage allows bacteria to grow and cause decay underneath the filling. This process weakens the filling and may cause it to fall out. Eating something very sticky or very hard may also loosen an existing filling. The best way to get many years of use out of your fillings is to develop good oral hygiene habits, and to have professional dental cleanings and examinations twice a year. This will allow the dentist to monitor any leakage or defects around your existing fillings.
You may wonder if you should save your lost filling so when you arrive for your dental emergency visit you can give it to the dentist to reuse. You are welcome to bring the lost filling to your dental emergency appointment for the dentist to examine, but it is very unlikely that the San Jose area dentist will reuse it. A filling placed with new material would have a better fit and would have greater longevity. Once placed, the new filling will be adjusted to fit your bite, and polished to a smooth finish.
While waiting for your filling to be replaced, continue to brush for at least two minutes three times a day, and floss a minimum of once a day, or as often as needed to keep food from becoming stuck in the open space. You should also be careful not to scratch your cheek or tongue on any jagged edges of the tooth. If the tooth is sensitive to certain foods or temperatures it is best to avoid them to prevent unnecessary discomfort.
In some cases, teeth with very large fillings or if an additional tooth structure from the tooth that had a filling got fractured or broken require a crown for added strength. Ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, and gold crowns are some of the materials available. Most crowns can be completed in one or two visits.
San Jose residents have chosen Dr. Gupta for gentle and expert dental care for many years. Please contact his San Jose area office for a dental emergency visit and to have your lost filling replaced.