Dental fillings are among the safest, most durable, and least priced restorative dentistry forms for treating cavities and dental decay. Although fillings are long-lasting, they can easily break out if you don’t take good care of them.
You must have heard people complaining that a filling in their tooth fell out or needs repair. Wondering how this happens?
What most people fail to realize is, while dental fillings are a worthwhile treatment for dental decay, they are not meant to last forever. The good news is that there are practices you can follow to help increase your dental fillings’ longevity.
Let’s first look at the various types of dental fillings so that we can learn the methods on how to take care of them.
Though they are also referred to as silver fillings, amalgam is a mixture of several metals like mercury, silver, and alloys such as chromium. Amalgams are relatively resistant to wear and can easily withstand hard chewing, making it an excellent option for filling molars.
Amalgams are also used in areas of the mouth that are had to keep dry, such as below your gum line.
There are few allergic reactions reported to rise from treatment using amalgam fillings, and the material is relatively cheaper than other options.
They are also referred to as inlays and are processed in the lab after an impression of your teeth has been taken. They are then cemented later to your teeth in a second appointment.
Gold is primarily considered the best material for a tooth filling due to its strength and durability. However, It is the most expensive option of all.
They are also made in the lab and fixed at a later appointment. Porcelain is more stain-resistant compared to composites. While they are known to last long, porcelain fillings will cost you quite some much, closely similar to gold inlays.
Composites are easily matched to your teeth color, making them a good option for front teeth. They, however, are less durable compared to porcelain and will chip away with time. They are, therefore, not suited for large tooth cavities. They also stain easily from coffee and tobacco smoke and are pricier than amalgams.
Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures in food is a direct sign that your filling needs replacement. Sharp pain when biting on food also indicates a crack on your filling.
If your tooth feels rough on the tongue, it might be time to replace your filling. If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to call your dentist immediately for a repair.
Taking care of Your Dental Filling
Brushing and flossing daily is the number one step in taking care of your teeth and dental fillings. However, when you have a new filling, it’s advisable to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging the enamel or scrapping off the new filling.
Fillings efficiently respond to extreme temperatures. Hot or very cold food can cause the filling to contract or expand, altering its adaptability, strength, and shape, and can make it crack or leak.
Extreme temperatures can also cause sensitivity around an amalgam filling.
Alcohol present in some toothpastes and mouthwashes can quickly stain a dental filling and even decrease their lifespan. To avoid this, Union Ave Dental experts recommend the use of alcohol-free toothpastes and mouthwash. You can also use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth if you have a new filling.
By being mindful, we mean taking care of the filling site a few hours after the treatment. The anesthetic placed on the filling area to numb your nerves can take sometime before it fades away.
Therefore, you are advised to avoid mouth actions like tooth clenching, nail biting, tongue probing, or grinding your teeth – these actions can upset the treatment area. Also, try and eat using the opposite side of the mouth at least for the first 24 hours to give the filling time to settle. You can then slowly introduce soft food to that side until you get used to it.
Even if there are no issues noted, it’s good to get a dentist to check whether the filling functions properly. Visiting a dentist ensures no other underlying problems could cause further damage to the tooth.