Have you ever experienced a lost filling? Although this is an unexpected occurrence, it is relatively common. Placing and replacing fillings that have worn out or fallen out is one of the most common dental emergency procedures done in many general dental offices near Santa Clara. In the majority of cases it is easy and relatively painless. While not typically a serious dental emergency, it is recommended that you don’t delay in scheduling a dental visit because the weakened tooth may continue to break until it is filled with new filling material.
The longevity of a dental filling varies depending on how the original filling was placed, and the patients’ individual oral hygiene. Silver amalgam and white composite are the most frequently used filling materials. Silver amalgam is the older filling material of the two. It is a very durable material that may last for years, but nowadays many people prefer restorative materials that match their teeth. Tooth colored composite material is also very strong, and bonds to the tooth. At your dental emergency visit the best material for your tooth will be recommended.
Over time old fillings may leak around the margins where the filling meets the tooth. The leakage lets bacteria grow underneath the filling which causes recurrent decay. Recurrent decay will weaken a filling and may cause it to come out. Extremely sticky or extremely hard foods may even loosen an existing filling. Establishing a routine of good oral hygiene home care is the best way to protect your investment and get the most longevity from your fillings. Bi-annual examinations by a dentist will allow them to monitor your existing fillings and look for cracks or signs of leakage.
You may wonder if your lost filling can be reused and if it should be brought to your dental appointment. During your dental emergency visit the dentist may look at the filling, but it is very unlikely that the Santa Clara area dentist will reuse your old filling or the broken part of your tooth. Fresh new filling material will give the restoration a better fit and greater longevity. Once placed, the new filling will be polished and adjusted so it doesn’t interfere with your bite.
Continue to brush for a minimum of three times a day, and floss at least once a day, or as often as needed to keep food from becoming packed into the open space. The tooth may have jagged edges, so be careful not to scratch your cheek or tongue. Avoid any food, beverages, or activities that make the tooth hurt to prevent unnecessary discomfort.
In some instances teeth with large fillings and a lot of missing natural tooth structure may require a crown for additional strength. Gold, ceramic and porcelain fused to metal are some of the materials available. Most crowns can be made and seated in two visits.
Santa Clara residents have chosen Dr. Antonious for expert, gentle dental care for many years. Please contact his Santa Clara area office for a dental emergency appointment and to have your lost filling replaced.