Fillings don't last forever, and eventually, yours will fall out and need to be replaced. Here are three things you need to know about lost fillings.
Why do fillings fall out?
The average amalgam filling can be expected to last between eight and ten years, though it's possible for them to last for more than 20 years. They can eventually fail for multiple reasons.
New tooth decay can form in the area around the filling due to poor oral hygiene, and when that happens, the filling will no longer be secure and will fall out. They can also fail if they weren't placed properly. For example, contamination can make the filling not bond to your tooth properly, which allows the filling to fail in the future.
Are lost fillings serious?
Lost fillings can cause a lot of problems for you. One of these problems is tooth sensitivity. Now that your filling is gone, the dentin (sensitive tissue) inside your tooth is exposed, just like it was when you developed the original cavity. Depending on the size of the cavity, your pulp may even be exposed. Your pulp is the bundle of nerves in the middle of your tooth that keeps it alive, and if it's exposed to bacteria, it could become infected and die, which means that you'll need a root canal.
If the cavity is large, the missing filling may make your tooth susceptible to breakage. This is because cavities weaken the structure of your tooth, and without the filling in place to provide strength, your tooth could break if you bite something hard. If your tooth breaks, you may need to get a crown to repair it, or you may even need the tooth pulled out.
To avoid needing to get more serious dental procedures like root canals, crowns or extractions, get your lost filling replaced as soon as possible. Getting a filling can be scary, but ignoring the problem will only make it worse.
How do dentists treat lost fillings?
Your dentist will simply replace your lost filling. This procedure is very similar to what you experienced when you got the original filling. The dentist will carefully clean the cavity to remove food residue and bacteria from the area. If any additional decay is present, it will be removed, as well. The dentist will then fill the cavity with porcelain or composite material, which is more attractive than your old amalgam filling.
If your filling has failed, contact a dental office like Suncoast Dental Center.