Pain is no fun. No matter how old you are or where your pain is, hurting is no good. If you have ever had a toothache, you know what we are talking about.
Whether it is from an injury, an infection, gum disease, or another reason, tooth pain can go from 0 to insane quickly.
A cavity forms as the result of tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by the erosion of your tooth enamel. Oral bacteria, which live in your mouth, feed on lingering sugars. As they eat, they produce harmful acids, which eat away at the enamel of your teeth. Brushing helps to keep the number of oral bacteria down, and it helps to eliminate the acids on your teeth. Ignoring your oral care routine, or simply missing certain areas of your mouth, gives the acids time to cause the formation of a small pit (cavity) in the enamel. Bacteria take up residence in this pit, and continue their destruction. Over time, the cavity grows larger. Untreated, it can begin to destroy the tooth, weakening it. It can also enter into the inner layer of the tooth, allowing bacteria in. If this happens, a painful infection can form. For these reasons, treating cavities as soon as they are noticed is very important.
You get pain in your mouth for a variety of reasons. Toothaches tend to come from something happening in your teeth or gums.
Here are some ways that you can stop or at least ease off your pain:
Right away! Especially if you experience the following:
Dental cavities are holes (or structural damage) in the teeth.
Tooth decay is a common disorder, second only to the common cold. It most often occurs in children and young adults, but it can affect anyone. Tooth decay is a common cause of tooth loss in younger people.
Bacteria are normally found in your mouth. These bacteria change foods, especially sugar and starch, into acids. Bacteria, acid, food pieces, and saliva combine in the mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque sticks to the teeth. It is most common on the back molars, just above the gum line on all teeth, and at the edges of fillings.
Plaque begins to build up on teeth within 20 minutes after eating. If it is not removed, it will harden and turn into tartar (calculus).
The acids in plaque damage the enamel covering your teeth. It also creates holes in the tooth called cavities. Cavities usually do not hurt, unless they grow very large and affect nerves or cause a tooth fracture. An untreated cavity can lead to an infection in the tooth called a tooth abscess. Untreated tooth decay also destroys the inside of the tooth (pulp). This requires more extensive treatment, or possibly removal of the tooth.
Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) increase the risk of tooth decay. Sticky foods are more harmful than non-sticky foods because they remain on the teeth. Frequent snacking increases the time that acids are in contact with the surface of the tooth.
There may be no symptoms. If symptoms occur, they may include:
Most cavities are discovered in the early stages during routine dental checkups.
A dental exam may show that the surface of the tooth is soft.
Dental x-rays may show some cavities before they can be seen just by just looking at the teeth.
Treatment can help prevent tooth damage from leading to cavities.
Treatment may involve:
Dentists fill teeth by removing the decayed tooth material with a drill and replacing it with a material such as composite resin, glass ionomer, or amalgam. Composite resin more closely match the natural tooth appearance, and are preferred for front teeth. There is a trend to use high strength composite resin in the back teeth as well.
Crowns or “caps” are used if tooth decay is extensive and there is limited tooth structure, which may cause weakened teeth. Large fillings and weak teeth increase the risk of the tooth breaking. The decayed or weakened area is removed and repaired. A crown is fitted over the remainder of the tooth. Crowns are often made of gold, porcelain, or porcelain attached to metal.
A root canal is recommended if the nerve in a tooth dies from decay or injury. The center of the tooth, including the nerve and blood vessel tissue (pulp), is removed along with decayed portions of the tooth. The roots are filled with a sealing material. The tooth is filled, and a crown is needed in most cases.
Treatment often saves the tooth. Treatment is less painful and less expensive if it is done early.
You may need numbing medicine and prescription pain medicines to relieve pain during or after dental work.
Nitrous oxide with local anesthetic or other medicines may be an option if you are afraid of dental treatments.
Dental cavities can lead to:
Oral hygiene is necessary to prevent cavities. This consists of regular professional cleaning (every 6 months), brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least daily. X-rays may be taken yearly to detect possible cavity development in high-risk areas of the mouth.
It is best to eat chewy, sticky foods (such as dried fruit or candy) as part of a meal rather than alone as a snack. If possible, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water after eating these foods. Limit snacking, since it creates a constant supply of acid in your mouth. Avoid constant sipping of sugary drinks or frequent sucking on candy and mints.
Dental sealants can prevent some cavities. Sealants are thin plastic-like coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This coating prevents the buildup of plaque in the deep grooves on these surfaces. Sealants are often applied on the teeth of children, shortly after their molars come in. Older people may also benefit from tooth sealants.
Fluoride is often recommended to protect against tooth decay. People who get fluoride in their drinking water or by taking fluoride supplements have less tooth decay.
Topical fluoride is also recommended to protect the surface of the teeth. This may include a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash. Many dentists include application of topical fluoride solutions (applied to a localized area of the teeth) as part of routine visits.
Tooth decay, or a rotten tooth, refers to a permanently damaged area on the tooth’s surface. Because some cavities can go undetected with no symptoms, it’s essential to schedule regular dental visits. A dentist can identify and treat cavities early to stop further tooth rot.
An untreated cavity can become larger and gradually affect the deeper layers of the tooth. Along with a hole, other signs of a rotten tooth include:
A rotten tooth isn’t only an adult problem, it can also occur in infants, toddlers, and children. Symptoms of tooth rot in children are generally the same as those in adults but may also include swollen gums, irritability, and a fever, which indicates an infection.
If your child seems irritable and is unable to express the location of pain or discomfort, check inside their mouth and look for signs of a problem.
There isn’t only one cause of rotten teeth, but rather a collection of possible causes. Understanding factors for tooth decay can help prevent future problems with your teeth.
Regular brushing and flossing are necessary to remove plaque and keep your teeth strong and healthy. Brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss daily. Additionally, see a dentist twice a year for a professional dental cleaning.
Eating a diet that’s high in sugar and carbohydrates can also contribute to tooth rot because these foods cling to the teeth.
Sugar also feeds bacteria, and the more bacteria in your mouth, the more acid in your mouth. If you eat a lot of sugary foods and don’t brush regularly, you may experience faster breakdown of your tooth enamel, which is the outer layer of your tooth. Likewise, consuming too many acidic drinks (soda and juices) and having acid reflux disease can also cause tooth decay. The acid in beverages can slowly dissolve tooth enamel. With acid reflux, stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus and mouth can also erode tooth enamel.
If your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to help wash away plaque and bacteria in your mouth, you could have more plaque and acid in your mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay or rot.
Tooth decay can also occur if you have deep dental crevices. These groves can make it harder to brush effectively, and if plaque settles in these groves, it can eat away at your tooth’s surface. Applying a dental sealant to healthy teeth may prevent the buildup of plaque.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel, making it resistant to cavities. Fluoride is added to public water supplies, but it’s not usually found in bottled water. If you don’t use a toothpaste with fluoride or drink from your city’s water supply, there’s a risk for tooth decay.
Tooth decay can also occur at an early age if your child falls asleep with a bottle of milk, juice, or formula in their mouth, or if you dip your child’s pacifier in sugar or honey. In both instances, sugar can collect around the teeth and lead to tooth decay.
The treatment for rotten teeth is generally the same for both children and adults, and saving the tooth is the goal of treatment.
In the early stages of tooth rot (small cavity), your dentist may perform a fluoride treatment to strengthen or remineralize the tooth, which may reverse a cavity. This method, however, only works for smaller cavities, and isn’t effective once other signs of rotting develop, such as dark or white spots on the tooth and bad breath.
When a fluoride treatment isn’t an option, your dentist can remove decayed parts of the tooth and perform either a dental filling or a dental crown to fill holes in the tooth. For a filling, your dentist uses a tooth-colored composite resin or an amalgam filling such as mercury, silver, or another type of metal. With a crown, your dentist places a dental cap over the decayed tooth.
You may need a root canal if the decay has spread to the center of the tooth and there’s inflammation or an infection. Your dentist removes the infected nerve and pulp, and then fills and seals the space.
When a tooth can’t be saved due to severe rot, your dentist may extract the tooth and replace it with a denture, bridge, or an implant.
If your child has a rotten baby tooth that can’t be fixed with a dental filling, you may feel a root canal is unnecessary since this isn’t your child’s permanent tooth. But although a decayed tooth will naturally fall out on its own, your child’s dentist may still recommend a root canal to prevent premature loss of the tooth. If the tooth were to fall out early due to decay, this could cause misalignment of their permanent teeth.
Tooth decay can be minor or severe, so it’s important to see a dentist regularly and not ignore signs of a cavity. If diagnosed early, you can receive treatment and possibly avoid complications of a rotten tooth such as infections and tooth loss.
As cavities form on your teeth, they eat away at your tooth enamel until they reach what’s called dentin.
Bacteria then eats the dentin until the bacteria reacher the blood vessels and nerves in the middle of your tooth. This is called the pulp.
From the pulp, bacteria can spread to other areas in the mouth if you wait too long to treat a cavity. The bacteria attacks more tooth tissue the longer you wait to take care of a cavity.
A good way to prevent this from happening is to know how to detect when you have a cavity.
Here are seven cavity symptoms to watch out for.
Typically, you will have pain when you have a cavity that’s been untreated.
If you get a toothache, it’s time to see the dentist. Don’t put it off. In the early stages of cavities, you might feel pain when you bite down on something you eat like a piece of candy.
In time, you begin to experience tooth pain when you chew on something soft, and when it progresses further, you will experience consistent tooth pain.
A less obvious sign of a cavity is tooth sensitivity. Sensitive teeth often resemble a cavity. It will feel like a tingle or tickle in your teeth at certain times.
Your teeth feel sensitive due to bacteria that is thinning down your tooth enamel. Enamel protects the nerves in the teeth.
When bacteria begin to eat through the layer of enamel, your nerves will make your teeth feel sensitive.
In the early stages, your tooth becomes sensitive when you’re eating something hot or cold, acidic or sugary. At other times, it might not feel sensitive.
If your teeth feel sensitive, use a sensitive toothpaste. Some people do have sensitive teeth and you might be one of them.
But if the sensitive toothpaste doesn’t alleviate the problem, you probably have a cavity and need to visit your dentist.
If you can see a hole in your tooth, your cavity has progressed. You will most likely need several fillings or possibly a root canal if you have contracted an infection in your tooth and the tooth becomes an abscess.
If you spot a hole on top of the tooth, run your tongue over it. If you feel a hole, it’s probably a cavity.
When looking for a hole in your teeth, it’s easier to see the bottom teeth in the mirror. Get a dental mirror to help you check your top teeth.
If you see a hole anywhere, don’t wait. See a dental professional to clean the bacteria and fill your tooth or fit you for a crown.
When a cavity has not been treated for a long interval of time, it is easy to see. It will look like a dark spot has formed on the infected tooth. If your tooth is discolored you might have a cavity.
A dark spot appears on your tooth before holes form on your tooth. There could be a hole there that you cannot see.
Instead, a dark spot, usually gray, brown or black. If you see this spot, bacteria has begun to make its way into your enamel. Seeing a dark spot is a sure way how to know if you have a cavity.
As your tooth decays bacteria spreads and penetrates the tooth. This leads to bad breath, also called halitosis. This same bacteria that makes a cavity causes bad breath.
If enough bacteria has entered your mouth to cause a cavity, you’ll contract bad breath. You might notice it when you brush your teeth or your tongue. You’re also likely to have a bad taste in your mouth.
If you have halitosis, visit a dental professional. You might have a bad cavity. The sooner you address it, the sooner you can fix it and the less money your dental treatment will cost you.
Pus indicates a serious problem caused by a cavity. The cavity has turned into an abscess.
An abscess can cause extreme pain, a fever and even make your glands swell. Tend to pus immediately. It should not be ignored or overlooked.
Your dentist can help stop the pus and to prevent the abscess from getting worse by prescribing an antibiotic.
An antibiotic can kill the bacteria that has spread through your tooth. It can also prevent it from spreading through other nearby areas of your mouth.
If you have a chip in your tooth or your tooth has a larger break, you might have a cavity. This can happen when you might down on something hard or eat something chewy like a piece of candy.
If your tooth is chipped or broken, your cavity needs to be treated before it breaks the rest of the tooth.
At worst, when bacteria causes a tooth to break too much, it may not be able to be saved. You may need to have an extraction at worst.
Now you know the signs and how to tell if you have a cavity. If you recognise any of the warning signs, visit a dentist right away.
You may brush your teeth twice or more every single day, floss to make sure you’re reaching every nook and cranny in your mouth, and you might even use an oral rinse to top it off. But somehow you are still getting cavities. Maybe you’ve noticed friends or family members whose oral cleaning routines aren’t as diligent as yours but don’t get cavities nearly as often as you do. Why is that?
Some people are more susceptible to cavities for a number of reasons, not all of which are to do with improper teeth cleaning. Read on to find out what they are.
The culprit for why you might be more prone to cavities could be as simple as what you’re eating. Eating too many snacks and beverages filled with sugar is a major issue when it comes to your oral health and should be the first place you look to cut down for the sake of your teeth. Unless immediately cleaned with a toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste, sugars sit around and between teeth, and along the gum line. These sugars become fuel for destructive bacteria which multiply and erode tooth enamel, which is the protective layer of teeth that protect against decay which leads to cavities.
Sugary foods to avoid include sodas, juices, sweets, and carbohydrates, such as white breads. To combat cavities, replace these foods with crunchy fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in sugars, such as carrots and celery, and drink water to flush away food debris and sugars that may be lingering among teeth. Bring your toothbrush and toothpaste with you to work to brush your teeth after lunch to ensure that no particles or sugars are left behind.
There are oral bacteria, or microbes, that are more aggressive than others when reacting with sugars in the mouth. This means that the bacteria that naturally forms in some people’s mouths can be more damaging than the bacteria that forms in other people’s mouths. This destructive bacteria is what breaks down the protective barriers of the teeth and can cause decay down through the root of the tooth, which is how cavities are formed. To combat aggressive oral bacteria, couple your regular brushing and flossing routine with an oral rinse that fights cavities by enhancing the tooth’s natural protection.
If you experience a feeling of dryness in your mouth regularly, this could affect your oral health. Saliva is essential to combat cavities because it washes away destructive food particles, sugars, and bacteria in the mouth naturally. There could be various reasons why dry mouth occurs, including medication side effects, chemotherapy treatments, and sickness. To combat dry mouth and protect your teeth from cavities, rinse daily with an enamel enhancing mouth wash to protect teeth, and try to drink plenty of water throughout the day to make up for the lack of natural moisture in your mouth. Consult your healthcare professional for additional treatment for dry mouth symptoms.
If gums recede far enough, the roots of the teeth can become exposed past where the tooth enamel naturally covers. This means that the base of the tooth is vulnerable and any bacteria that would naturally build could cause decay much easier, which results in cavities. Brushing lightly with an ultra soft toothbrush away from the gums is important to avoid causing further recession. Couple this technique with fluoridated toothpaste, an enamel enhancing oral rinse, and counsel from your dental professional to ensure that gum recession is not due to a larger health issue.
Teeth that have naturally deep grooves are more susceptible to cavities because they are likely to catch food particles, sugars, and destructive bacteria easily. These grooves are more difficult to properly clean regularly and are closer to the root of the tooth so any erosion that does happen is more likely to have more destructive results because of its proximity to the vulnerable part of the tooth. Decay in these grooves is much more likely to cause cavities. Ensuring that these troublesome teeth shapes are cleaned fully twice each day and that no food particles are left behind after eating is the best way to combat and prevent cavities.
For further information about any of these issues, and for any other questions you may have about cavities and your oral health in general, consult your dental professional.
If you have a cavity and the damage isn’t too extensive, your dentist will suggest you get a filling. Fillings protect teeth from further damage, and they restore them to their natural function. There are four kinds of materials you can choose from for fillings: gold, porcelain, amalgam, and composite resin. The type of material you choose will ultimately determine what the procedure looks like to apply the filling.
No matter the type of material, the procedure for filling a cavity begins the same way. The dentist first makes sure the patient is comfortable. For a filling, dentists will sometimes begin by drying the gum around where they will apply the filling and applying a numbing gel. The gel keeps the patient from feeling The Needle, with which the dentist injects a local anesthetic.
Needles aren’t always required though, For small fillings or if you have higher threshold to discomfort.
After preparing the patient, the dentist will remove decayed tooth material with a high-speed hand piece, commonly referred to as a dental drill. After the dentist uses the high-speed hand piece, they will switch to a low-speed hand piece and then hand tools to remove remaining decay.
After they have removed decay, the dentist will clean and disinfect the area around the cavity.
For amalgam fillings, the dentist then mixes ingredients that make up the amalgam. When amalgam is first mixed, it’s soft and pliable, which allows dentists to shape it. The dentist then compacts the soft amalgam onto the tooth and carves it into a tooth shape. The amalgam will harden in a few minutes.
For a composite resin filling, the dentist will next take note of the patient’s tooth color and select or mix a resin that matches. They may do this before preparing the patient.
After selecting a resin, they’ll wash the affected tooth with acid. The acid forms tiny holes in the tooth into which the resin will take hold and bond.
After applying acid, the dentist will then dry the tooth and prime it with a priming and bonding agent. They will then apply the resin. Once applied, the dentist will shape it and place a UV light over it. The light will cure the resin so it hardens.
The procedure for applying gold and porcelain inlays and onlays is much the same. After preparing the teeth, the dentist will take an imprint or scan of the teeth, which they will send to a dental lab. The lab will make and prepare the inlay (a filling placed inside or in the middle of a tooth) or onlay (a filling place on the top or edge of a tooth).
During a second visit, the dentist will place the inlays/onlays using a dental cement or adhesive agent.
At the end of a procedure, the last thing a dentist will do is to always adjust the filling to make sure it doesn’t hit other teeth. The dentist will have their patient bite down on a piece of carbon paper to determine if the filling is too high. The carbon will rub off in the place where the filling touches opposing teeth. If a filling is too high, the dentist will file it down.
There are many choices for dental “fillings” – the material used to restore your teeth when or if you get a cavity.
A filling is designed only to ‘fill’ a cavity and to seal off further invasion by bacteria. Advances in technology, as well as shifting priorities for consumers, have driven preferences for different materials.
Ideally, dental filling material should have the following qualities, in order of importance:
I think it’s important to know the differences between the types of filling materials. That way, if you need a restoration, you’ll understand how each material will behave, how long it will last, and how it will look.
Dental amalgam gets a bad rap. People are concerned that the mercury in the amalgam material will enter the bloodstream (although the mercury levels detected have never been proven to cause illness). Most people don’t like the way it looks either, as its dark colour contrasts strongly with the natural colour of the tooth.
The main reason dental amalgam is bad for your teeth however, is because the material is not dimensionally stable and continually expands with time.
I’ve found in my practice that nearly all large amalgam restored teeth fracture over time, and sometimes the tooth will split beyond repair.
Did you know that what is commonly referred to as ‘white’ fillings is a plastic material? The technical term is composite resin and this material is dimensionally unstable – it doesn’t maintain its shape.
When a dentist places a composite resin filling in your mouth it’s in putty form, or a semi-liquid. It is then cured with a high-intensity blue light, and the putty solidifies and hardens.
This process is called polymerisation and with it comes shrinkage – the filling becomes smaller than the cavity it sits in.
Dentists strive hard to reduce this shrinkage but it’s what causes the decay to come back. The primary goal of the filling, the seal, is compromised over time and bacteria gets back in.
It’s not long, in my experience around 2-7 years later, before you need another filling in the same tooth –– but this time a little bigger and a little bit deeper. This causes damage even faster than the old amalgam fillings took to break your tooth.
In my opinion, porcelain (sometimes called dental ceramics), is the best filling material you can use for a restoration. If well-looked after following treatment, it will restore your oral health for the long-term, decades even, with good care. It’s also the most cosmetically appealing of all the materials.
Because it’s designed precisely to fit your tooth, made outside the mouth, then glued in, there is no opportunity for shrinkage as with plastic fillings.
The downside is it is that porcelain is not cheap and these fillings take longer to make.
Porcelain fillings are made outside of the mouth, either by a dental technician or CAD-CAM (Computer Aided Design – Computer Aided Manufacturing) system, and then cemented in. This new technology means that porcelain restorations can be made and cemented during the same appointment – so less time and less injections.
Before the introduction of dental porcelain the best restorative material was gold. It has similar qualities to porcelain, in that it’s very stable and very strong. However as the price of gold increases each year, it is expensive to manufacture and because it looks ‘gold’ it lacks the cosmetic appeal.
Unlike porcelain, gold restorations have to be done over two appointments and are made by a dental technician, so it is also less convenient. For these reasons, it’s rarely used today, but occasionally it is used when really high strength is required.
While brushing and flossing are certainly helpful, there’s more to this situation than meets the eye! Here are several factors that may contribute to a high cavity rate:
Here is how you can counteract some of the factors that may be acting as strikes against your oral health.
Now that you know a little more about why cavities form and how to prevent them, your luck at the dentist is about to change!
Cavity might as well be a four letter word.
Cavities have been a bad word for as long as they have had a name. It is no secret that the very thought of one may make your teeth clench in opposition to treatment.
The majority of people are familiar with cavities and know the treatment process, including regular cleaning exams. But most people don’t know the process of what happens to a tooth if it’s left untreated.
We hope that by telling you what happens with a bad cavity will lead you to making proper oral hygiene a part of your daily routine. Here’s a brief summary of what to expect if a cavity goes untreated.
Cavities don’t just go away on their own. If you ignore a cavity, it will continue to grow in size. One bad cavity could lead to a second cavity before long. Decay of the tooth will widen and deepen; this will make you more prone to brittle teeth leaving them to the possibility of cracking and breaking.
Taking it a step further, if cavities go untreated the decay will eventually reach your nerves. This can be severely painful because nerves become exposed to the air as a cavity progresses. Nerve pain can be an ongoing and excruciating ordeal as the sensitivity within the tooth continues to be compromised. By this time, the tooth will either need a root canal or to be extracted.
Infection in the mouth and jaw area is of greatest concern even above the pain you may experience. Infection can lead to increased pain, swelling, and other health concerns. You’ll need an antibiotic to help fight the infection along with treatment of the tooth to take care of the cavity in whatever way the dentist feels is best.
As you can see, letting a cavity progress certainly has a snowball effect. Treatment is very easy when cavities begin but can be much more involved if you ignore them. If you suspect that you have a cavity, you should seek immediate treatment from your dentist.
A tooth cavity can cause a variety of complications if it’s left untreated. These include:
You may cause damage to your tooth that can’t be reversed if you put off seeing a dentist. At this point, the only way to fix the cavity is for your dentist to remove the tooth and replace it with an implant or bridge.
Tooth cavities are a common dental problem, but you can reduce your risk by doing the following:
The following foods can help fight tooth decay:
Also, don’t forget to visit your dentist at least twice per year for regular teeth cleanings. This allows you to get treatment for any problems your dentist finds, and it will help prevent future dental problems.
Cavities don’t just form overnight. It can take months, or possibly even years, before the decay process advances to the point where a tooth requires attention. The entire process of tooth demineralization takes place whenever an acidic oral environment exists, and fortunately, this environment isn’t the norm for a person’s mouth.
Early-stage tooth decay can be corrected when it’s caught early enough, which is why it’s so essential to visit your dentist every six months for an exam.
The time it takes for a cavity to form varies. It can, on average, take anywhere from six months to four or five years before a cavity requires treatment. The length of time it takes will vary on a case-by-case basis because the conditions of your mouth differ daily. This means that a cavity can start to form and then not have the right conditions to continue to develop. A cavity won’t just go away on its own; however, it can be slower to form, which allows your dentist to correct the issue before it gets worse.
There are several types of factors that can significantly influence the length of time it takes for a cavity to form. The most common factors that can increase or decrease the speed in which cavity forms include:
If your dentist tells you that you have a cavity forming, there are ways to stop early-stage tooth decay from progressing into a full-blown cavity. The process known as remineralization can occur, which can reverse tooth decay.
Remineralization can correct damage to a tooth. When a cavity begins to form, the enamel or dentin starts to lose valuable minerals that protect the tooth. You can help to put these valuable materials back into the tooth by remineralizing it. The tooth will start to strengthen itself and repair the decay to the point where a cavity is no longer forming.
While remineralization can reverse some damage to the surface of a tooth and prevent some cavities, it won’t work for all situations. If the damage to the enamel or dentin is too severe, the process will be ineffective, and the cavity will need to be treated by your dentist.
You can do your part in helping to protect your teeth from tooth decay by following a few simple guidelines:
Having regular teeth cleanings and exams every six months is another necessary step in eliminating cavity-causing plaque and tartar. During these exams, your dentist will be able to identify any early signs of tooth decay and give you the tools and knowledge to combat cavities.
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives you a filling, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam.
Dental fillings are important in preventing tooth decay and cavity expansion by filling damaged ares of the tooth before it becomes so damaged it needs removal.
Tooth decay is created by bacteria in your mouth. When the bacteria encounters a food source such as sugar, an acid is produced which begins to breakdown the tooth. This results in what is known as tooth decay or a “cavity”. Not all “cavities” will cause pain, but it is important to have the decay removed and filled with either a silver or white filling to prevent it from spreading to the tooth’s nerve or pulp.
First, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth to be filled. Next, a drill, air abrasion instrument, or laser will be used to remove the decayed area. The choice of instrument depends on the individual dentist’s comfort level, training, and investment in the particular piece of equipment as well as location and extent of the decay.
Next, your dentist will probe or test the area to determine if all the decay has been removed. Once the decay has been removed, the dentist will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. If the decay is near the root, your dentist may first put in a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or other material to protect the nerve. Generally, after the filling is in, your dentist will finish and polish it.
There are: metal fillings and tooth-colored fillings. Each may offer particular advantages and disadvantages in certain situations.
Amalgam — The classic “silver” filling in use for more than a century, dental amalgam is actually an alloy made up of mercury, silver, tin, and copper. The mercury combines with the other metals in the amalgam to make it stable and safe. These fillings are strong and inexpensive, but also quite noticeable. They also require relatively more tooth preparation (drilling) than other types.
Cast Gold — Among the most expensive restorative dental materials, cast gold combines gold with other metals for a very strong, long-lasting filling. It is also highly noticeable, which can be considered a plus or minus.
Composite — A popular choice for those who don’t want their fillings to show, composite is a mixture of plastic and glass, which actually bonds to the rest of the tooth. Composites are more expensive than amalgam fillings, and the newer materials can hold up almost as long. Less drilling of the tooth is necessary when placing composite as compared to amalgam.
Porcelain — These high-tech dental ceramics are strong, lifelike, and don’t stain as composites can. They are sometimes more expensive than composites because they may require the use of a dental laboratory or specialized computer-generated technology. While considered the most aesthetic filling, they can also, because of their relatively high glass content, be brittle.
Glass Ionomer — Made of acrylic and glass powders, these inexpensive, translucent fillings have the advantages of blending in pretty well with natural tooth color and releasing small amounts of fluoride to help prevent decay. They generally don’t last as long as other restorative materials.
Today, several dental filling materials are available. Teeth can be filled with gold; porcelain; silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper); or tooth-colored, plastic, and materials called composite resin fillings. There is also a material that contains glass particles and is known as glass ionomer. This material is used in ways similar to the use of composite resin fillings.
The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, your insurance coverage, and your dentist’s recommendation assist in determining the type of filling best for you.
For many decades, cavities were filled with amalgam. Still used today, amalgam is very strong material. However, it does have some major disadvantages. It is silver in color, which makes it stand out against the rest of the tooth (which can ruin the aesthetics of your smile). It contains both metals and mercury. Many dental patients are uncomfortable with the idea of mercury in their fillings. Amalgam fillings also require drilling more of the tooth’s structure away than just the decay.
Composite dental fillings are different. Composite resin is a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials that is used to fill in the cavity. The material is not as strong as amalgam (although it can stand up to most normal daily wear and tear), but it does blend in beautifully with your enamel, making it ideal for cavities that affect the teeth visible when you smile.
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.
Composite dental fillings have several benefits:
An inlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist.
Inlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. Also, they are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays.
As with most dental restorations, inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.
An onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is made by a dental laboratory.
At your second appointment, your new onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.
You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new inlay.
An onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown. It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.
Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.
As with most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.
An onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is made by a dental laboratory.
At your second appointment, your new onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.
You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new onlay.
A silver amalgam filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a silver filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Amalgam fillings, along with composite (tooth colored) fillings, are the most widely used today. An amalgam filling is more commonly used in the back teeth since the color is not as aesthetic as a composite filling.
As with most dental restorations, amalgam fillings are not permanent and may someday need replacement. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting smile.
Amalgam fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleansed and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The silver filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when amalgam fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given post-care instructions at the completion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.
A less frequently seen type of filling is glass ionomer. Made from acrylic and a type of glass known as fluoroaluminosilicate, these fillings are exceptionally strong and normally used in people who have advanced tooth decay descending below the gumline. Glass ionomer is also used for filling baby teeth.
Gold is an extremely durable substance that can be great for its longevity. While gold fillings last longer than any other type of filling, they are highly visible in the mouth and can cost as much as ten times the price of amalgam fillings!
Every type of filling has its own unique benefits as well as things that detract from its desirability. Your dentist has the career knowledge and experience to know which filling will likely be best for your specific needs, but it can never hurt to ask questions and weigh your options when it comes to having a cavity filled!
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity, and expense of dental restorations, including:
Before your treatment begins, your doctor will discuss with you all of your options and help you choose the best filling for your particular case. In preparation for this discussion it may be helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings — direct and indirect.
Each filling is different. What is right for you will be determined by a combination of factors: the extent of required repairs, whether you have allergies to certain medicines, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and cost. Some considerations include:
Once your procedure is done, you are cleared for home. Your tooth or entire mouth will still feel numb a couple of hours after the treatment. This should wear out as soon as the local anesthesia clears in your system. Within the period, you may feel itchy, puffy, or tingly. All these feelings are normal following the procedure. However, they should not last more than a day. You want to avoid eating when your mouth is still numb. This can result in accidentally biting yourself because you cannot feel your tongue or mouth.
After the numbing wears off, you should expect some sensitivity in the treated tooth. This can happen upon different triggers. For some patients, talking too much can allow air into the tooth and cause some slight sensitivity. However, most patients experience it when eating. This is especially so when taking foods of extreme temperatures, whether too hot or too cold. It is also expected that your tooth will be sensitive when you bite hard on foods or items. You may want to avoid hard foods and candies for a while. The sensitivity, however, comes shortly and quickly and then goes away.
The sensitivity is not supposed to last very long. Once you are used to your new fillings, it should go away. However, it is best to try out a desensitizing toothpaste to help you cope. You can also try over-the-counter painkillers to relieve the discomfort and pain.
I always offer my patients a choice when it comes to the material I use to repair their teeth, but not many people are aware of the distinct benefits of each type of dental filling. When you get a cavity, there are a few ways to protect the tooth from further decay. After removing some decay and a gentle cleanup, there’s a new vacancy in your tooth that needs to be filled in order to protect the tooth’s integrity and the sensitive root underneath. The two most popular dental fillings are the silver amalgam filling and the composite resin filling. I stopped using amalgam fillings 10 years ago even though I have a few in my own mouth. But today, at least 47% of dentists still use amalgam fillings. Here are some facts to help you make an informed decision about the fillings in your mouth.
Silver amalgam fillings are made of an alloy of mercury, silver, tin, zinc and copper. Silver fillings have been used for over 100 years because of the metal’s durability, but recently amalgam fillings have been getting a lot of attention for their potential health concerns. A few years ago, the FDA upgraded them from low risk to a moderate risk treatment due to published research on the health effects of mercury in our fillings. At my office, we take a conservative approach to amalgam removal. If the mercury-silver amalgam filling is decayed or compromised, we will replace it with a composite resin filling.
Composite resin fillings are the most popular type of filling used in modern dental practice. I place more composite fillings than any other type of fillings. They are tooth-coloured fillings that replicate the natural appearance of healthy enamel, making them a more discreet cavity treatment. They form a chemical bond with the tooth for a more reliable fit. They don’t have the same risks as mercury-silver amalgam fillings and are more attractive than metal fillings. Because composite resin fillings are so versatile, we recommend them for most types of cavities.
We recommends only replacing fillings of any kind when there is an issue such as wear, decay, pain, cracking or breaking of the tooth or filling. If you notice any of the issues listed above, we recommend you see your dentist as soon as possible for an exam. Tiny cracks and wear in fillings can often be detected during regular exams and x-rays at a dental checkup.
Alternatives to amalgam, such as cast gold restorations, porcelain, and composite resins are more expensive. Gold and porcelain restorations take longer to make and can require two appointments. Composite resins, or white fillings, are esthetically appealing, but require a longer time to place.
Ceramic fillings –sometimes also known as porcelain fillings – are designed to match the color of the tooth or teeth they are used on. This is unlike fillings made of silver, gold, or amalgamations of silver and other minerals.
Instead of fillings comprised of metallic substances that stand out visually in the mouth, porcelain is the main material used for ceramic fillings. It can be mixed to match the exact color and hue of any tooth in a patient’s mouth.
The result – a tooth that has been cleaned and purged of a cavity and is sealed with tooth enamel-colored ceramic material – is much more visually pleasing and much less noticeable as a damaged tooth.
Ceramic fillings can be used in teeth that are under great chewing pressure such as molars and bicuspids, and now thanks to improved technologies such as “directed shrinkage” of the ceramic polymer material used to fill cavities, these porcelain fillings are reliable and are fast becoming the standard of care for forward-thinking dentists and cosmetic dentists across globe.
Pros of Porcelain Fillings
The largest benefit of using porcelain ceramic fillings is the completely natural appearance of the repaired tooth or teeth once the procedure has been completed. Whether used for inlays and onlays, crowns, implants, veneers or orthodontic brackets, repaired teeth look indistinguishable from healthy teeth thanks to the ceramic filling material coloring process.
Many patients are so happy with the appearance of their treated teeth that they eventually have all their old fillings removed and replaced with ceramic fillings.
Another strong advantage of ceramic porcelain fillings is that the material is very durable, rugged and capable of lasting longer than composite and amalgam fillings. On average, composite fillings tend to last 5 to 10 years, while amalgam fillings last from 10 to 15 years.
Meanwhile, well-installed ceramic fillings can last up to 20 years or so in a patient’s mouth, which is certainly a blessing in numerous ways!
Safety of materials is positive focus when discussing ceramic fillings. Particularly with amalgam fillings and their mixture of silver and other minerals, there’s always the possible allergic reaction to one of the metals being used.
In the past, mercury was an accepted material in-use within amalgam fillings and mercury has proven to be toxic as well as allergenic to some patients; additionally, mixing capsules which may contain mercury residue are extremely harmful to our environment. Ceramic porcelain fillings offer none of these potential dangers.
Lastly, ceramic fillings are more resistant to stains and abrasions than conventional fillings, and do not run the risk of developing micro cracks and fissures as amalgam fillings do. These cracks and fissures in the fillings can lead to further decay within the sealed tooth where the cavity had existed.
Considerations of Ceramic Fillings
One con may be that ceramic fillings often take two appointments to accomplish. However, this technique ensures that the treated tooth is healthy before the final restoration.
However, their superior durability and strength means the reduced need for touch-up treatments over time. Ultimately, this can translate to fewer dental visits.
Ceramic fillings such as inlays or onlays need to be large enough to prevent them from breaking away with use. Often, a tooth must be reduced in size to make room for the extra bulk of the ceramic filling so that it can bond completely to the remaining tooth surface.
The options available for restoring your teeth are as follows:
Other Comparisons between the two;
he numbness caused by your local anesthesia should wear off within a couple of hours. Until then, it’s best to avoid drinking hot or cold liquids, and eating on the side of your mouth with the new filling. Some sensitivity to hot and cold is normal in the first couple of weeks after getting a tooth filled. If it persists beyond that, or you have any actual pain when biting, it could signal that an adjustment to your filling needs to be made. Continue to brush and floss as normal every day, and visit the dental office at least twice per year for your regular checkups and cleanings. And remember, tooth decay is a very preventable disease; with good oral hygiene and professional care, you can make your most recent cavity your last!
Indentations on the top of the molars typically hold onto more food particles and plaque and so are more vulnerable to ending up with cavities. Dental sealants, an effective aspect of preventive dentistry, are used to protect the teeth from damage resulting from decay. These thin preventive coverings are created from an invisible or white liquid that is brushed onto the occlusive surfaces of the back teeth. Once dried, dental sealants can defend these teeth and create a more even surface that is easier to keep plaque-free. Dental sealants don’t just stop cavities, but they could also lessen your family’s needs for tooth-coloured fillings or other corrective services down the road.
Youths in the age group 6 – 12 are usually more likely to develop decay on the occlusive surfaces of their permanent molars, so they are ideal candidates for dental sealants. In addition, those older than 12 might also consider getting sealants, for example, patients who have a hard time keeping up with optimal oral hygiene practices or who have a history of tooth decay. Receiving dental sealants is a straightforward, easy treatment that typically requires no anaesthesia. Set up a visit so a member of our dental staff can talk with you to find out if you might benefit from this simple and efficient option.
Prior to treatment, will need to evaluate the teeth to determine if dental sealants are the correct service for you or your child. To get your mouth ready for sealants, a professional on our staff will polish the enamel to get rid of any buildup, food particles, and germs from the crevices. The dried, and a fine film of sealant product is then distributed uniformly into the fissures with a tiny brush. An innovative curing light will be positioned on top of the tooth; this will strengthen the sealant covering in approximately 10 – 20 seconds. As soon as each sealant is set, our professionals will assess your chewing surfaces for alignment and provide you with tips on how to best care for your sealants.
your dental sealant appointment, you or your little one will be able to get back to your normal activities. During the next few days, it is vital to stay away from eating tacky or hard foods to help keep the sealants in good shape as they harden into your molars. also recommends individuals to develop a good oral hygiene regimen, such as flossing and brushing your teeth at least two times every day. When cared for properly, dental sealants should stay in place for a number of years.
Because sealants are largely applied as a preventive dental procedure, many dental insurance programs will cover them for kids or adolescents up to a specific age.
Dental sealants are thin coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) that help to prevent cavities.
Sealants are a quick and painless way to prevent cavities. A tooth without a cavity is healthier and stronger than a tooth that has a filling or an untreated cavity. Sealants are less expensive and easier to apply than a filling.
Sealants prevent the most cavities when applied soon after permanent molars come in. This is usually around age 6 for the first molars and age 12 for the second molars.
Getting a sealant is easy and does not hurt. The tooth is cleaned, rinsed, and dried. Next, the dental sealant is painted on the tooth. The dentist may shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant to form a protective shield.
Dental sealants have shown to still work approximately nine years after placement. However, sometimes they do fall off. If a tooth loses a sealant, the protective shield is gone and the tooth can get a cavity. That is why it is important to maintain regular dental appointments so they can be checked. The good news is that missing sealants are easy to replace.
Your dentist can detect whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled. During a checkup, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine the surfaces of each tooth. Anything that looks abnormal will then be closely checked with special instruments. Your dentist will probably also take x-rays of your entire mouth or a section of it. The type of treatment your dentist chooses will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay.
This depends on the type of material, the location of the tooth, and what other concerns you might have. We recommend you call one of our locations to make an appointment and see us today.
Dental fillings require the same level of care as your regular teeth. Brushing, flossing, and other normal preventative treatment, along with biannual checkups will ensure your fillings last for years to come.
The price of dental fillings can be impacted by several factors, such as the material of the filling (composite or amalgam), the location of the tooth, and the number of tooth surfaces that need filling. In Australia, a filling can cost between $100 to $300. According to the national Australian dental fee survey for 2017, a simple filling (item 522) can cost up to $200 and a more complex filling (item 535) can cost up to $320.
The material used to fill the tooth is an important factor in how much a filling will cost. Two of the most common filling materials are amalgam and composite.
Amalgam fillings consist of various materials, including silver, tin, zinc, mercury and copper. Their silver coloration makes amalgam fillings easily noticeable, but they are durable — lasting up to 10 years. This is also the cheapest material for fillings. If you have dental insurance, expect to pay an average of about $89 for an amalgam filling. Without insurance, you’ll pay up to $150 for a filling on one or two surfaces of the tooth. Amalgam fillings that cover three or more surfaces of the tooth run from $120 to $300.
Composite material combines plastic with fine glass particles to create a filling that matches the color of the tooth. The composite bonds to the tooth, resulting in a tooth that is stronger than it would be with an amalgam filling. Composite fillings are more expensive than amalgam fillings. You can expect them to last at least five years. With dental insurance, you’ll pay an average of $207 for a composite filling. Patients without insurance pay up to $250 for a composite filling that covers one or two surfaces. If the filling has to cover three or more surfaces, expect to pay as much as $450. Some insurance companies do not cover the extra costs associated with composite fillings.
Gold alloy is a much less common material for fillings. Not only does it require more work, gold increases the price of the filling. Depending on the size, patients without dental insurance pay $250 to $1,500 for a gold filling. Most gold fillings last at least 15 years or more. At the back of the mouth where they are not visible, they are the best filling materials.
If the tooth that requires a filling is hard to reach, such as a molar, expect the cost to go up. If there are complications, this also increases the final price.
The estimated cost for most fillings includes the price of a local anesthesia. However, anxious patients, or patients who have a hard time staying still for long periods of time, such as small children, may require sedation. If your filling requires sedation, add the following average fees to the cost of your filling:
Dental insurance cuts the cost of a filling. But first, you have to pay your deductible. Then, your insurance covers a stated amount, subject to an annual maximum.
For example, if you have a $300 deductible and your filling will cost $150, your insurance will not pay anything for the filling. Once you have met your deductible, your insurance may cover 20 percent of eligible procedures. Assuming you have already paid your deductible, a $150 filling would cost you $30.
While a dental filling to treat a cavity is a very common dental procedure, after a dental filling many patients may experience some mild to moderate pain and discomfort.
In here we offer helpful tips on what you should do and not do after a dental filling and how to know if you need to go back to see your dentist about the discomfort you are experiencing.
One of the most common reasons you may experience pain after a dental filling may be because the dental filling itself could be too high. While your dentist does their best to get the filling height right the first time, you may notice that as you start to move your jaw, speak, and chew, the filling may not quite feel right. Contact your dentist about having the filling smoothed or reshaped. This is very important because if the filling is higher than the rest of your teeth it is at a higher risk of cracking.
After a dental filling, some people may experience pain in the teeth beside their tooth that received the filling. This is normal and does not indicate there is anything wrong with your teeth. Most of the time, the tooth with the new filling is just passing along signals to the neighbouring teeth. You should notice this pain decrease within one to two weeks.
It is common to experience sensitivity to air and to cold or hot food (or drink items) for up to three weeks after a dental filling. You may also notice increased sensitivity from the pressure of biting on the new dental filling, particularly if the dental filling is for a deeper cavity. To avoid sensitive teeth after a filling, you can try using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. We also recommend that you avoid very hot or cold foods and for the first few weeks, try and chew you food on the other side of your mouth. If the sensitivity does not go away after two weeks, please contact our dentist office.
Should you still experience toothache type symptoms after your new dental filling (such as throbbing, sharp pain or constant pain) it may be a sign that the decay is quite deep into the pulp of your tooth. If this is the case, a root canal may be needed. Contact your dentist if you think this may be the problem.
As mentioned, you may notice that once you start moving your jaw and/or once the anaesthetic wears off, the new dental filling is not as comfortable as it was when you were in the dentist’s chair. You may also notice the filling is too high or that there are some sharp edges that need to be smoothed out. Contact your dentist for a quick follow up to make sure it is addressed ASAP.
It is possible that you may end up with another cavity in the future. If you find your teeth are particularly sensitive after receiving a dental filling you can speak with your dentist about alternative dental filling options. Each person responds differently to different types of metal fillings. Your dentist can also use additional preventative measures such as a base, liner, or desensitizing agent.
Many patients ask us, “What can I eat after a filling”? It really depends on the type of filling you received. White fillings that are made of composite will harden instantly under the blue light used by your dentist. This hardening will allow you to eat and drink immediately after the procedure. Metal dental fillings do not harden immediately and often dentists will recommend waiting at least 24 hours following the dental filling before eating any solid foods. In order to avoid biting your cheek, tongue, or lips, you will probably want to wait until the local anesthetic wears off before trying to eat.
It is best to avoid any hard, chewy, or sticky foods after a dental filling for up to two weeks. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity you may also benefit from avoiding hot or cold drinks and foods. There is no need to wait to brush your teeth after a dental filling. You can continue brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day.
You can use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with any physical discomfort you may be feeling after a dental filling.
You may have heard that you should avoid chewing in the area of a dental filling for at least 24 hours after having a cavity repaired.
However, after filling a cavity, your dentist will have specific instructions for you to follow regarding when and what to eat.
Certain types of fillings may affect your wait time. We share some recommended tips for eating following a tooth filling.
Your wait time may be different based on the type of filling you get.
Along with waiting for your filling to properly set, other things that can affect eating post-filling include:
Your dentist will most likely administer a local anesthetic to reduce pain during the filling procedure.
Eating before this numbing agent has worn off may cause you to accidentally bite your tongue, cheeks, or lips. Numbing typically wears off in 1 to 3 hours.
It’s not unusual to have some discomfort after having your tooth filled, which may affect your appetite or desire to eat.
Your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen to make you more comfortable.
During your procedure, the gum tissue near the tooth being filled may become irritated, resulting in soreness. This may affect your comfort level in chewing on that side of your mouth for a few days.
You can rinse with warm salt water to help your gums feel better (1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 cup of warm water).
Teeth may be sensitive to heat and cold for a few days to a week or two after getting a dental filling.
Your dentist will likely suggest that you avoid very hot or cold food and beverages. If the sensitivity doesn’t go away in a few weeks, talk to your dentist.
Sometimes your bite may feel different after a filling, as if your teeth don’t come together like usual.
If you don’t get used to the new bite in a few days and your bite still feels uneven, call your dentist. They can adjust the filling so your teeth bite together normally again.
Many people feel scared about dental procedures, especially because they think that they will hurt. This is normal, but you actually have nothing to be afraid of. While many people wonder “are dental fillings painful?”, the reality is that they are rarely as bad as people may think.
During a filling you are unlikely to feel a thing. A filling does not happen in areas of the tooth where there are nerves, so you shouldn’t feel any more pain from the procedure than you would feel from cutting your hair. No nerves = no pain. Of course, some people have more sensitive teeth or require deeper fillings that come closer to the nerve. That’s why an anesthetic is used to numb your mouth during the procedure. A numbing gel generally allows the dentist to give an anesthetic injection pain-free that ensures the area will not feel anything. It’s an extra precaution to ensure that you don’t experience any pain from a filling.
Sometimes people do, however, feel an ache from the injection or the procedure after the anesthetic wears off. This sensation rarely lasts long, and by the next day, you should feel good as new or even better. After all, your dentist removes the decay in the tooth exposing you to pain. The filling protects you, so you won’t feel that pain anymore.
While there may not be sharp pain after a filling, your tooth may be a little sensitive for a week or so after the procedure. Common sensitive tooth triggers, such as hot and cold foods, air temperature, and the pressure of biting can make you feel a mild ache. Don’t worry. This isn’t an indication of anything bad. All it means is that your mouth is adjusting to the filling.
Some people immediately adjust to the fillings, but other mouths take some time to get accustomed to its presence. People who need a little more time to acclimate to the filling can experience some sensitivity when doing certain activities like eating or drinking. This should resolve itself within several weeks and can be minimized by avoiding particularly hot or cold foods for the first few days after treatment.
If you are feeling anxious about getting a filling, it may help to speak to one of our dentists in person. We are happy to answer all your questions and honestly explain what you can expect from the filling procedure. In the end though, a filling will always hurt less than letting a cavity grow. Don’t neglect your health due to your fears. Our dentists will make getting a filling a breeze.
Everyone has primary (baby) teeth, and most people (around 60%) experience some level of tooth decay that affects baby teeth. But, baby teeth are temporary, and not as important as adult teeth, right? Wrong. Primary teeth don’t last forever, but they are not expendable and untreated cavities can cause serious immediate harm, and negatively affect how a young mouth develops.
Tooth decay is 5 times more common than asthma, 4 times more common than childhood obesity and 20 times more common than childhood diabetes. Tooth decay is an acid attack on tooth enamel that can lead to cavities – which are essentially holes in teeth. Cavities on baby teeth are treated with fillings, which help prevent the cavity from worsening or spreading.
When tooth decay is not treated by dental professionals, or with proper oral care, teeth can become riddled with cavities. Children with cavities affecting their primary teeth face many risks that affect their overall development.
– Impact children’s nutrition, and impede them from eating healthy food.
– Cause overbites, and bite alignment problems that require oral appliance to fix.
– Hinder adult teeth from growing in straight and healthy.
– Impede proper speech, and negatively affect self-esteem.
– Cause severe tooth pain, that worsens without treatment.
– Lead to infections that affect nearby teeth, and cause more cavities.
Baby teeth may be temporary, but their impermanence does not mean that they are not important. Children with cavities on their primary teeth face oral health challenges now, and in the future they mature into adults.
It’s pretty easy to spot the symptoms of tooth decay and cavities, but only a dental professional can accurately diagnose and treat cavities in baby teeth. If your child exhibits any of the following, then schedule a visit with our office as soon as possible so we can treat the root of their oral health issues.
– Pain in the tooth when chewing, or brushing.
– Pain below the gum line that is localized around on tooth or area.
– Increased sensitivity to temperature extremes, like hot or cold beverages.
– Visible holes, discolorations, or dark spots on teeth.
– Persistent bad breath that is not alleviated by consistent brushing or mouthwash.
Cavities are the most prevalent childhood disease, but it’s also the most preventable. You can empower your child to prevent cavities and tooth decay by helping them get into a proper oral health routine, which means brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time, and flossing once per day. You can take easy dietary measures to prevent cavities, too. Try removing sugary beverages from their diet, and substitute them for water, which is one of the most powerful tools in the fight against cavities.
Visit our office if your child experiences persistent tooth pain, or pain in their gums. They may have severe tooth decay or cavities that need to be treated It’s impossible to diagnose a cavity by yourself, and only trained dental professionals can accurately diagnose and treat cavities. We treat children of all ages, and help families get their oral health on track by giving them the tools and knowledge needed to keep a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.
Looking after our children’s baby teeth (also known as milk teeth) is just as important as looking after their adult teeth (permanent teeth).
Many of us think something like, “Well, they are temporary, they can’t really be that important, right?” or “Why worry about them when they are going to fall out anyway?”
The Australian Dental Association has released a report card called The Oral Health Tracker (the Tracker) that shows the current national status of the oral health of both adults and children here in Australia.
In 2018 an alarming 34.3% of children aged 5-6 years of aged have experienced decay in their baby teeth.
6.8% of children aged 5-14 years of age experienced a toothache, while 9.3 children out of every 1000 were hospitalized with dental problems that could have been prevented if they had visited a dentist sooner.
Many parents wonder why, if baby teeth are going to fall out, they should be taken care of?
There are multiple reasons to take care of temporary teeth. Temporary teeth play an important part in speaking, eating, and even how we breathe.
Most importantly, for dental health, temporary teeth mark out space for the permanent adult teeth that will follow, helping them come in straight and regularly distributed.
If decay is not properly treated, symptoms will continue to worsen, baby teeth can be lost, and even permanent teeth can be affected.
Starting at age 2, a brushing routine should be established using a smear of fluoride toothpaste. For toddlers, parents can use a child’s size soft toothbrush with water and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Children need help brushing until at least age 6, at which point they can take over brushing by themselves and also learn to floss.
Until this age children are simply not dexterous enough to manage sufficiently by themselves. A good guide is that if they are able to tie their own shoelaces or a bow, then they can brush their own teeth.
Purchase, print out, or make your own calendar. Every night or morning after your child has finished brushing his teeth, reward the effort with a sticker on the calendar to mark a successful cleaning.
If your child fills up a full month of the calendar with stickers, reward them with something like a bonus in allowance or a toy.
We recommend bringing children in for regular dental visits so that we can monitor their overall all oral health and hygiene habits. We can catch problems early and give tips and advice on how to improve cleaning techniques at home.
These appointments are always a lot of fun for the children and help to establish a trust and relaxed approach to treatments that older adults sometimes dread.
All children can be at risk for tooth decay and many factors can contribute to the incidence of tooth decay. According to the CDC, tooth decay (aka Dental Caries) remains one of the most common childhood diseases. It is important to seek regular dental care (6 month check-ups/examinations) so that a dentist can evaluate your child for preventive care, evaluation of caries risk, and examination of teeth and other oral structures. In this segment, we will discuss some of the sources, causes of dental decay and some preventive measures you can employ to help prevent dental decay.
We want to reiterate the importance of seeking regular dental care (6 month check-ups/examinations) so that your child’s dentist can evaluate your child’s teeth and other oral structures in the mouth. If the dentist finds that your child does have cavities/dental caries, your dentist will discuss with you treatment options in effort to address your child’s oral health. It is important to note that cavities that aren’t properly treated or managed have the potential to lead to more serious infections and pain which could impact the quality of life for your child including – speech development, learning, eating, pain, infection and general well being and overall health. Untreated decay can lead to more serious and debilitating illness and pain. We want to help ensure that every child experiences a childhood free of dental disease and illness through high quality preventive and restorative dental care!
If your child has dental decay, or has repeat incidence of dental decay, here are some things to know and consider:
Unfortunately, tooth decay is rather common in children – it is preventable with excellent oral hygiene and diet practices, however, dental caries still remains one of the most common diseases that affects children of all ages. By the age of 4, more than 1 in every 4 children has at least one cavity. Some children do get cavities much earlier, so it’s very important to schedule your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday – to discuss prevention practices, dietary practices and other recommendations to help ensure your child has protective measures in place to help prevent tooth decay from developing. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of children who are ages 2 to 11 develop a cavity in their baby (primary) teeth.
The group of germs (bacteria) that play a major role in development of tooth decay are called mutans streptococcus. These bacteria feed on sugar and produce acid that in time, will dissolve minerals on the outermost layer of the tooth, known as enamel. As decay progress, the inner layer of the tooth will also become affected – this layer is known as the dentin. When caries progresses even further, the nerve and blood vessels of the tooth can become affected. It is important to have best preventive practices in place at an early age. It is also important to have regular dental examination for a dentist to examine for any signs of decay that might be present and to address accordingly. Regarding tooth decay, the first sign that minerals are being lost, a process known as ‘deminerilization’ is the development of white/chalky spots on the teeth. In time, as these areas break down, a cavity may form. These same bacteria are also responsible for contributing dental plaque—a soft, sticky, yellowish film that builds up on teeth and can further cause tooth decay and /or lead to gum disease (gingivitis, periodontitis, and other infections, health concerns) if not removed regularly.
At each dental visit, the dentist will examine your child’s teeth, tongue, gums, and other soft tissues and oral structures. As the dentist examines the teeth, he or she will be evaluating each tooth for potential signs or presence of dental decay. To facilitate a thorough examination, your dentist may recommend certain dental radiographs be taken (also known as x-rays). Dental radiographs provide a view of your child’s teeth and surrounding bone that a dentist would not otherwise be able to see by visual examination only. With dental radiographs in addition to clinical examination, your dentist may be able to detect early signs of dental disease and offer preventive recommendations or treatment recommendations based on their findings.
There are certain measures you can take to help prevent or reduce the incidence or development of dental caries.
Fluoridated toothpaste (generally 0.1% F; 1,000 ppm F) should be used twice daily as a primary preventive procedure. Brushing twice daily has greater benefits than brushing once per day. It is important that a parent or other responsible adult, dispense the appropriate volume of toothpaste, based on child’s age, onto a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. The parent should also supervise the frequency of brushing, and assist/participate in performing brushing teeth for young children.
Your dentist may recommend additional at-home topical fluoride regimens utilizing increased concentrations of fluoride if your child has an increased or high risk for dental caries. These may include over-the-counter (0.02% F; 200 ppm F) or prescription strength (0.09% F; 900 ppm F) formulations.
Additionally when your child presents for their 6 month dental check-up, your dentist may recommend an professionally applied fluoride product known as fluoride varnish to further help strengthen and protect your child’s teeth from dental caries!
There are many options for recommended exposure for fluoride including mouthwashes, supplements and treatments at the dental office. Please speak to your dentist to find out what’s the best option for your children.
We always encourage you to speak with your child’s dentist to help ensure your child has the preventive measures in place to help reduce the chances of dental caries developing in your child’s teeth. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have!
Risk factors for cavities include:
Once a cavity has penetrated the dentin, you won’t be able to get rid of it at home. The following home remedies might help prevent cavities or treat “pre-cavities” by remineralizing weakened areas of your enamel before a cavity develops:
Chewing sugar-free gum after meals has been shown in clinical trials to help remineralize enamel. Gum containing xylitol has been researched extensively for its ability to stimulate saliva flow, raise the pH of plaque, and reduce S. mutans, but long-term studies are needed.
Sugar-free gum containing a compound called casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) has been shown to reduce S. mutans even more than xylitol-containing chewing gum. You can find this type of gum in stores.
Vitamin D is important to help absorb calcium and phosphate from the food you eat. StudiesTrusted Source show an inverse relationship between eating foods high in vitamin D and calcium, like yogurt, and cavities in young children. You can get vitamin D from dairy products, like milk and yogurt. You can also get vitamin D from the sun.
Fluoride plays an important role in preventing cavities and remineralizing enamel. Extensive research has been done to show that regularly brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste prevents cavities.
Most studies have been conducted either in children or adolescents, so more research is needed in adults and the elderly.
This is the cavity remedy that no one likes to hear — stop eating so much sugar. The WHO says that eating sugar is the most important risk factor for cavities. They recommend reducing your sugar intake to less than 10 percent of your total caloric intake for the day.
If you’re going to eat sugar, try not to snack on sugary foods throughout the day. Once the sugar is gone, your enamel has a chance to remineralize. But if you are constantly eating sugar, your teeth don’t get the chance to remineralize.
Like most people, when you discover you have a cavity or pain in your teeth, the first thing you do is make an appointment with your dentist as you think that fillings are the only way to fix cavities. However, what most people fail to realize is that tooth decay and cavities can be reversed and fillings aren’t the only option available.
This article will explain the basic principles behind how you can heal cavities naturally and prevent tooth decay.
Remember, if a cavity has already struck, a trip to the dentist may not be avoidable..
If a dental filling won’t adequately restore the structural integrity of your tooth, you may need a dental crown. Dental crowns are made from a variety of materials to look like your original tooth. They fit around your tooth to protect it from physical damage and bacterial infection. Your dentist takes measurements of your teeth to ensure that your crown is custom-fitted for your tooth. Your crown will act like a shield against anything that could further hurt your vulnerable tooth. This is the best option for teeth that have sustained damage that a filling cannot fix.
Dental Crowns Have a Variety of Applications for Oral Health.
Dental crowns don’t just protect teeth that have suffered significant cavities. Dental crowns can be used in a range of applications to improve your oral health. Crowns are also used on teeth that need root canals, again to protect a tooth with compromised structural integrity. Crowns are also used on abutment teeth when creating a dental bridge. The crowns hold replacement teeth in place.
Our dental office understands that losing or breaking a filling can be scary. It may even be a little painful. But many times a lost filling isn’t a dental emergency. However, with that said, it’s still important to treat it appropriately and in a timely manner. We’re here to walk you through the steps you should take if you do lose a filling and what you can do to help protect yourself.
The very first thing you should do if you lose or break a filling is call your dentist. Explain what happened, any symptoms you have, and if you’re in any pain. Sometimes our dental office has appointments available and may be able to see you the same day. If not, make sure you get the earliest appointment possible. If left untreated, a lost filling can result in more decay and damage.
During the appointment your dental team will examine the area and check for any other damage.
They’ll then make a recommendation for the best treatment for you. Treatment may be another filling or it could be a dental crown. If the area is large, a crown is usually the treatment of choice.
While you’re waiting for your appointment you should try your best to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the filling once was. This can help keep food and bacteria out of the space left by the filling.
After you do eat, rinse your mouth out with warm salt water to rinse away any lingering food particles. You can also gently brush the area with a toothbrush if it doesn’t cause pain.
Pain reliever can work wonders in relieving any sensitivity or discomfort that may come along with losing a filling. Use what typically works best for you and follow the dosage instructions on the label.
Many pharmacies carry temporary filling material made with zinc oxide. Using this to block up the gap in your tooth will not only help keep food out, but can ease pain too. Just remember that this is a temporary fix.
Even though dental fillings are incredibly strong and can last for years, sometimes things happen that can cause them to fall out. If this happens, schedule an appointment now.
While we all wish that dental restorations lasted forever, unfortunately this isn’t the case. Dental fillings are a common restoration that is used to restore a tooth that has had a cavity. Perhaps you’ve just recently had a tooth filled or you’ve had one filled in the past, but one popular question that we gets a lot is, “How long will my dental filling last?”
While we can never provide you with a definitive answer on how long your particular dental filling will last, we can tell you that a filling is not designed to last forever. Plus, there are several factors that may prolong or reduce the life of your filling.
The type of material used to create your filling will play a small part in the longevity of your restoration. While tooth-coloured (composite) fillings can last for several years, amalgam (metal) fillings usually last about 12 years, on average. Amalgam fillings tend to last longer than composite fillings because the material is more durable and better at resisting damage from repeated jaw pressure and chewing forces over the long term.
Of course, maintaining good oral health is a major part of keeping your fillings and mouth healthy. Besides keeping up with your at-home oral care routine (make sure you are flossing daily and brushing at least twice a day), you should be visiting our Findlay general dentist for routine visits. During these visits, we can examine your fillings to make sure that they are still healthy and intact.
Fillings can also become damaged. If you notice that a filled tooth has suddenly become sensitive to hot or cold, or if you can see a visible crack in the filling, it’s time to make an appointment with us. And when it comes to caring for your smile at home, using fluoridated toothpastes and rinses can help prevent cavities in the future and help strengthen your tooth’s enamel so that your filling lasts as long as possible.
A filling is used to treat an area of decay. It stops it from spreading and restores the tooth’s strength. Although a filling will last for several years, it won’t last forever. Depending on the type used, here’s how long you can expect your restoration to last:
The most traditional fillings are those made from a mixture of metals. Amalgam fillings are durable and effective, which is why they have been used for well over 100 years. On average, you can expect a metal filling to last for about 15 years before needing to be replaced, but the length of time can vary based on several factors, such as if you grind or clench your teeth.
Tooth-coloured fillings are made from a mixture of fine glass and plastic particles. They are customized to match your enamel to blend in when you smile. Although they aren’t made from metal, they are durable. They generally last 10 to 12 years before needing to be replaced.
There are several reasons why your filling may need to be replaced over time. Most often, it is the result of daily wear and tear. As you chew, your filling is placed under a great deal of pressure. Over time, it can cause it to crack, leak, or fall out. If your filling no longer protects your tooth as it should, it can cause bacteria and tiny food particles to become trapped underneath it. You’ll need to have the filling replaced to prevent new decay.
If you have a composite filling, it’s normal for it to discolour over time. As a result, it can stick out like a sore thumb. You can have it replaced to ensure it continues to blend in seamlessly when you smile.
If your filling is not functioning as it should, you may experience some sensitivity or pain. It’s best to contact us right away to have your tooth examined. They will determine if it’s time to have your filling replaced to continue protecting your smile.
Seal – the seal between the tooth enamel and the dental filling may weaken, allowing bacterial debris and food particles to seep under the filling. This may result in further decay which can lead to infection of the tooth pulp. If it has progressed to this stage, you may develop an abscessed tooth–a painful infection between the gums and tooth or on the tooth root.
Crown – a large filling may not be able to be restored again, depending on whether the decay is great or small, and if the tooth lacks enough structure to support a new filling. In this case, you may need a crown instead.
Pressure – pressure on the filling, whether from chewing or bruxism–grinding and clenching the teeth–can cause a filling to chip, crack, or wear down. And if it is painless, you may not even notice the tooth has fractured or cracked. This is why dental checkups are important, your dentist can spot the issue early when it is most easily and least invasively treated.
Filling falling out – if a filling is old, or the tooth has decayed or fractured, it may fall out. You can lose a new filling if the cavity wasn’t thoroughly cleaned out and prepared, or there was biting and chewing trauma to the tooth.
Fillings, like a natural tooth, can deteriorate over time. Take good care of your teeth, and your dental fillings should last as long as possible.
Most people get tooth fillings to relieve discomfort, so when you experience pain within months after getting a filling it can be concerning. While tooth sensitivity is common up to four weeks after a filling procedure, pain that occurs after that window should always be evaluated by your dentist. If you’re asking yourself, “Why does my filling still hurt?” the following reasons for tooth pain after fillings may help you pinpoint the problem and treat it properly.
The tooth filling process requires your dentist to administer a local anaesthetic so he or she can remove diseased tissue. This process stimulates the nerves. Unfortunately, after the numbing agents wear off, you will feel sensitivity. This is especially true if your tooth decay was deep or covered a large area of your tooth. But if your filling still hurts several weeks or months following the procedure, you could be dealing with any of the following issues.
When an inflammatory reaction occurs inside the pulp of your tooth it can cause pain from a condition known as pulpitis. You may find yourself with pulpitis after getting a tooth filling because of dental drilling. If this is the case, this type of pulpitis can be reversed and will usually go away on its own. Sometimes pulpitis can occur if decayed tissue is left behind and then covered with a filling. This can cause an infection which will need treatment. If pulpitis is very severe, root canal treatment may be recommended.
Pain after a dental filling can be caused by an allergy to the tooth filling materials used during the procedure. If this happens, your dentist may recommend replacing the filling with a different material.
If filling material is placed too high, it can cause an uneven bite. This can make things painful when you chew or bite down. High fillings cause your tooth to push down a lot harder, making your periodontal ligaments tender. The good news is that your dentist can easily treat a high filling by grinding it down during a follow-up dental visit.
If you experience pain in teeth that surround the tooth that has a filling, this is called referred pain. This condition is quite common for people who receive tooth fillings. Referred pain causes pain signals to appear in other teeth and usually goes away on its own after a few weeks. If the pain occurs longer than four weeks, contact your dentist for a dental exam.
If you just had your filling placed, it will be sensitive once the anaesthetic wears off. You may experience sensitivity to hot or cold foods, chewing, and changes in air temperature. It is very common to have tooth sensitivity like this after a filling, but discomfort should go away within two to four weeks. It’s important to remember that if pain is present after that, you should contact your dentist.
While tooth sensitivity will occur after a filling, you can reduce your risk of both pain and ongoing sensitivity by trying the following remedies.
Remember: The above information points are to be used as general guidelines and should not be substituted for medical advice. If you feel that your tooth pain following a filling isn’t normal, contact our skilled dentists right away for a dental exam.
These days, a trip to the dentist is fairly uneventful.
Patients report comfort levels far exceeding those in the recent past; pain relief medications are more effective and take effect more rapidly; and materials used in treating patients are more adaptive to tooth structures than ever before.
Each of these improvements is designed to provide patients with the best clinical outcome and a degree of comfort previously unheard of. However, for a small percentage of patients, post-appointment pain can still crop up and linger for days or weeks on end.
Excluding rare instances of product malfunction or dentist error, the main reason a tooth likely hurts after a filling has to do with many highly individual factors in your mouth.
The structure of your teeth, past dentistry, personal habits (like clenching and grinding), and even the durability of the blood vessels, tissues, and nerves within your teeth, play a part in whether you remain pain-free after your anaesthetic wears off.
This is the million-dollar question – and the most difficult to answer.
The short answer is: It depends. It depends on your overall health, the health of your teeth, and the exact reason for the pain you are experiencing.
In the vast majority of cases, pain that exists after a restoration tends to dissipate within a few days.
However, if pain persists beyond a week, you should call your dentist to inform them of your symptoms. Depending on the type of work you had done, your dentist may decide to perform additional X-rays, or suggest you wait a bit to see if things settle down with the passage of time.
Believe it or not, it’s not unheard of for some patients to experience discomfort for months after a filling is placed. The key is to be in communication with your dentist so you can monitor the situation correctly.
While certainly not ideal, maybe you can find some comfort in the idea that you are as unique as you’ve always thought you were!
Dentists often numb the area around the affected tooth before doing a filling. As a result, you probably won’t feel anything during the first hour or two after your appointment. Once the numbness wears off, you might notice some unusual sensations in your mouth.
Several things can cause tooth sensitivity after a filling.
Before filling a cavity, your dentist removes the decayed part of your tooth with a drill that releases heat. In rare cases, this inflames the pulp, which is the connective tissue that forms the center of your teeth, causing pulpitis. If your dentist doesn’t remove all of the decaying tissue, it can also cause an infection in the pulp of the affected tooth. When this happens, you might notice your gums swelling or a pocket of pus near the tooth.
There are two types of pulpitis. The first is reversible pulpitis, where the tooth will be sensitive but the pulp will heal and get better. The second is irreversible pulpitis, where the pulp is unable to heal and your tooth will then need root canal treatment.
Sometimes a filling can cause the affected tooth to be taller than your other teeth. This can make it painful to close your mouth due to extra pressure on the affected tooth. In some cases, biting down can even crack the filling, so contact your dentist as soon as you notice a problem with your bite.
You might also feel pain or sensitivity from having two different surfaces in your mouth. For example, if one tooth has a gold crown, and the tooth above or below it has a silver filling, you might feel an odd sensation when they touch.
It’s also common to feel pain in the teeth surrounding the affected one. This is due to a phenomenon called referred pain, which involves feeling pain in an area other than the source of the pain.
Sensitivity after a dental filling could be an allergic reaction to the materials used in the filling. You might also notice a rash or itching nearby. Contact your dentist if you think you might be having an allergic reaction. They can redo the filling with a different material.
You can help to reduce sensitivity by:
A problem with your bite is the most common cause of sensitivity. Contact your dentist as soon as possible if you think there’s a problem with your bite, which you may not notice until after the numbness has worn off. They can adjust the filling so it better matches your other teeth.
If you have pulpitis that doesn’t resolve on its own after a few weeks, you may need a root canal.
Our dentist may recommend dental fillings if you are suffering from a small or moderate cavity and need to have the tooth repaired. While the placement process for dental fillings involves hardening the filling and cementing it to the tooth using a dental adhesive, the passage of time can still affect the quality of your filling. Over the years, the bacteria that naturally builds in your mouth can cause your dental filling to fail and weaken the dental adhesive that keeps it in place.
We encourage you to know the symptoms of a failing dental filling so that you can qualify for conservative treatment due to early detection.
For example, you may be alerted to your dental filling going bad if you feel a sharp pain in the tooth whenever you use it to bite down and chew food. The filling could also undergo a change in texture that you may notice, especially if the filling was placed close enough to your tongue for you to feel it.
If you see that the tooth enamel surrounding the dental filling has started to turn a slight gray shade, this could be a reason to be concerned, as it may result from bacteria invading the area where the tooth enamel and the filling meet. The development of a new cavity in the tooth may cause the filling to become loose and even fall out or result in tooth decay reaching the interior structure.
Depending on your situation, our dentist may be able to repair your compromised filling by placing a larger filling after removing more of the tooth enamel. However, if the tooth has been affected by new tooth decay that weakened its health, a dental crown may be a more effective option. Tooth decay that has reached the pulp and tooth root may only be treatable with root canal therapy because the decayed material needs to be removed to restore the tooth.
Do you have a dental filling that’s about to fall out? Are you searching for information about how to care for your dental filling? If so, please continue reading below.
Even though dental fillings are an effective treatment for tooth decay, they rarely last forever. However, there are steps you can take to prolong the longevity of the filling.
There are many steps to take to prevent a dental filling from falling out. Here are some steps to take in this regard.
Oh no! You’re minding your own business when suddenly, you bite down and feel something shift in your tooth. A second later, you’re probing your mouth to find a dislodged dental filling.
Don’t panic. Although losing a filling is a serious matter, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The first is to call the dentist right away and set an appointment for help.
If it’s late and you can’t reach your dentist, take these steps:
Unlike a lost tooth, a lost filling does not need to be immersed in milk to preserve it. Simply wash it off and protect it by placing it in a Ziploc-style bag. It may or may not be reused later on.
Carefully brush the affected tooth to remove food debris that may have become lodged in the newly-exposed material. Be very gentle at first. Avoid any areas you discover that cause pain.
Most pharmacies offer several varieties of dental cement. This is usually used by placing a small ball of the cement in the hole left by the filling, then using a moist cotton swab to tamp it down. Do not use dental cement if contact with the hole in your tooth causes pain.
A missing filling could cause no discomfort at all or it can be very painful – especially when the nerve is exposed. You can temporarily numb the area with over the counter medication. Just remember … even if there is no pain, it’s still important to get treatment as soon as you can.
Be careful about putting pressure on the damaged tooth. Try your best to chew on the opposite side of the mouth. Avoid foods, such as apples, that require you to bite down hard. This could cause additional chipping and cracking while the tooth is weakened.
If symptoms are mild, it is okay to wait 2-3 days for treatment. Your dentist will replace the lost filling.
Contact our after-hours emergency dental services if:
A dead tooth can result from tooth decay or an injury or accident, but you can’t always tell if a tooth is dead just by looking at it. It’s important to know the potential warning signs so that you can see a dental professional as soon as possible to get their diagnosis.
Knowing the signs of a dead tooth — and what to expect if you do have one — can make the process seem less scary and unsure.
Read on to learn everything you should know about this condition and its causes, symptoms and treatment options.
A tooth is considered to be dead or “non-vital” if there is no longer any blood flow to it. This can happen as the result of tooth decay, or as the result of trauma to the tooth.
Tooth decay first results in cavities, and untreated cavities can cause a tooth to die. Untreated cavities will eventually reach the pulp layer of a tooth, which allows bacteria a way in.
Healthy pulp will do its best to fight off any infection that the bacteria brings, but eventually, the pressure inside the pulp will become too high. The blood supply to the tooth will be cut off. That results in the tooth’s death.
Even if you maintain the best dental hygiene, it is still possible for your tooth to die.
A sports injury or hard fall can cause blood vessels to burst and the blood supply to your tooth to be cut off. That kind of physical trauma can cause the nerve or other living tissue in your tooth to die.
You should know what a dead tooth looks like, but it’s also important to realize that you may not see any physical difference even if your tooth is actually dead.
Signs of a dead tooth can include:
If you’re experiencing any kind of tooth pain or discomfort, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. An x-ray is often helpful in revealing whether or not a tooth is dead.
Keep in mind that only a dental professional can accurately diagnose a dead tooth, and the sooner you are diagnosed the better it will be for you in the long run.
If you are diagnosed with a dead tooth that your dentist cannot repair, you should be aware of the treatment options available.
Extracting or removing a tooth that has died is a relatively simple relatively painless form of treatment.
You should expect to receive either local or general anesthesia for the procedure, depending on your preference or the recommendation of your dentist.
In most cases during extraction, the tooth will be gripped tightly and then pulled from the gums. In the event that this is not possible because of how impacted the tooth is, the tooth will be broken up into pieces before being removed.
Following the surgery, you will need to rest. The extraction site may bleed, so be prepared with gauze that you can change as it becomes saturated with blood.
An ice pack may be helpful in minimizing the pain. You should stick to soft food and avoid drinking from a stray for several days after your procedure.
If it’s at all possible, a root canal is a preferred way of treating a dead tooth because it allows your dentist to save the tooth instead of having to pull it.
During a root canal, your dentist will aim to remove any infection from your tooth and your tooth root. After removing the infection, the area will be thoroughly cleaned as sealed in an attempt to prevent any further infection from happening.
Your dentist will then fill your tooth permanently.
A root canal can be a lengthy procedure, but any resulting pain usually disappears quickly.
After experiencing and being treated for a dead tooth once, you will want to do everything in your power to prevent it from happening again.
While accidents and injuries to your tooth are impossible to predict and difficult to prevent, there are ways to reduce your chances of having a tooth die.
From an oral hygiene perspective, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. You should floss at least once a day.
And, of course, see your dentist for teeth cleaning and checkups on a regular basis.
When playing sports or participating in an intense activity, wearing a gum shield or mouth guard can go a long way in helping you avoid tooth trauma.
There’s no guaranteed method that will allow you to avoid ever experiencing having a tooth die, but preventative measures can go a long way in reducing your risk.
One of the best ways to prevent a minor toothache from becoming an even bigger problem is to regularly schedule dentists appointments.
Our dentists can provide you with the services necessary to maintain a healthy mouth. They are there to give you the best treatment available when issues do arise.
We believe in educating our patients on good oral hygiene and prevention habits, so they can effectively protect their mouth health in between visits with us.
Teeth are made up of a combination of hard and soft tissue. You may not think of teeth as living, but healthy teeth are alive. When the nerves in the pulp of the tooth, which is the inner layer, become damaged, such as by injury or decay, they can stop providing blood to the tooth. That can cause an infection and cause the nerve to die. This is also sometimes known as a non-vital tooth.
Read on to learn how to identify a dead tooth and what you should do if you see signs that your tooth is injured.
A dead tooth is a tooth that’s no longer receiving a fresh supply of blood. For many people, discoloration may be one of the first signs of a dying tooth. You may also experience pain in the tooth or gums.
Healthy teeth are usually a shade of white, though the colour can vary depending on your diet and oral hygiene. For example, if you regularly consume foods that are staining, like coffee, blueberries, or red wine, or smoke, your smile may appear off-white or light yellow. This discoloration will likely be uniform, however.
If you have a tooth that’s discoloured because it’s dying, it will be a different colour than the rest of your teeth. A dying tooth may appear yellow, light brown, gray, or even black. It may look almost as if the tooth is bruised. The discoloration will increase over time as the tooth continues to decay and the nerve dies.
Pain is another possible symptom. Some people don’t feel any pain. Others feel mild pain, and still other people will feel intense pain. The pain is often caused by the dying nerve. It can also be caused by infection. Other signs of infection may include:
If you experience any symptoms of a dying tooth, it’s important to see your dentist right away.
Trauma or injury to your tooth is one possible cause for a tooth to die. For example, getting hit in the mouth with a soccer ball or tripping and hitting your mouth against something can cause your tooth to die. A tooth may die quickly, in a matter of days, or slowly, over several months or years.
A tooth can also die as the result of poor dental hygiene. That can lead to cavities, which when left untreated can slowly destroy your tooth. Cavities begin on the enamel, which is the outer protective layer of your tooth. Left untreated, they can slowly eat away at the enamel and eventually reach the pulp. That causes the pulp to become infected, which cuts off blood to the pulp and, eventually, causes it to die. You’ll likely experience intense pain once the decay has reached the pulp.
A dying tooth may be identified during a routine dental appointment that includes X-rays. It may also be identified if you see your dentist because of pain or concerns over discoloration.
You should always see your dentist following any tooth injury, or if you have any signs of a dying tooth. That way your dentist can begin treatment as soon as possible.
It’s important to treat a dying or dead tooth as soon as possible. That’s because left untreated, the bacteria from the dead tooth can spread and lead to the loss of additional teeth. It could also affect your jawbone and gums.
Your dentist may treat a dead or dying tooth with a procedure known as a root canal. Alternatively, they may remove the entire tooth.
With a root canal, you may be able to keep your tooth intact. During the procedure, the dentist makes an opening into the tooth and then uses small instruments to remove the pulp and clean out the infection. Once all of the infection has been removed, your dentist will fill and seal the roots and place a permanent filling in the small opening.
In many cases, you may need to have a crown following a root canal. This may be a good option if the enamel was damaged or if the tooth had a large filling. With time, a tooth that had a root canal can become brittle. That’s why crowns are usually recommended for posterior teeth (due to grinding and chewing). A crown is a covering that’s specifically moulded to your tooth. Your dentist will file away part of your existing tooth and then permanently fit the crown over the tooth. A crown can be made to match the colour of your surrounding teeth so that it’s not noticeable.
If your doctor determines that you don’t need a crown, you may be able to use tooth bleaching to treat any discoloration to the affected tooth. This is usually seen on anterior teeth only. Alternatively, your dentist may recommend covering the tooth with a porcelain veneer. Talk to your doctor about the different aesthetic treatments available.
If your tooth is severely damaged and unable to be restored, your dentist may recommend completely removing the dead tooth. During the procedure, the dentist will completely remove the tooth. Following the extraction, you can replace the tooth with an implant, denture, or bridge. Talk to your dentist about your options. Some questions you should ask are:
If your tooth is causing lot of pain, there are something’s you can do at home while you wait for treatment:
It’s important to see your dentist right away. Home treatment should not be used in place of professional medical treatment. Instead, you should use these methods while you wait for your appointment.
Preventing a dead tooth isn’t always possible, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk.
Did you know that teeth are actually living things? That’s right, this means it’s also possible for teeth to die. Tooth death most often happens due to physical trauma, such as s deep cavity or cracked tooth. Dead teeth can be reclaimed through the use of root canal therapy, but to fully understand how this works it’s important to first know the anatomy of a tooth.
The end of the tooth that you can see in an open mouth is called the crown, while the base of the teeth that lies buried in gums and bone is called the root. Each tooth has three basic layers. The outer layer is called the enamel, and the inner layer around the root is called cementum. Inside these layers you find the last layer, the dentin. Underneath the dentin lies the pulp, which is made up of nerves, blood vessels and other tissue. People often refer to the pulp as the “nerve.” This is not technically accurate, since nerves and blood vessels are only partially in the tooth and partially in the bones and gums through the roots.
The pulp can get harmed if the layers of the teeth get cracked or rot away, and this can lead to infection caused by liquid pressure, gasses, pus, or invading germs. This will result in swelling and a good deal of pain, signalling the death of your tooth.
Teeth that are referred to as “dead” are called so because there is no more blood flowing to it, hence it cannot sustain life. You’ve got various terms for dead teeth, including “non-vital tooth,” or “necrotic pulp.”
Once a tooth dies, it’s only a matter of time before it falls out of its own accord. It is not a wise decision to allow this to happen, however, as it can harm your other teeth and jaw and can actually be pretty dangerous. Depending on the type and extent of the damage, it may be days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years before the tooth falls out. This doesn’t mean you should wait around for it to happen, and it’s strongly recommended you go to your dentist and get the tooth dealt with as soon as possible after noticing the death of your tooth.
It’s generally not possible to tell if a tooth is dead by simply looking at it, and it’s always better to get a dentist to give you a proper diagnosis instead trying to guess or figure it out yourself. Yet another reason to go for regular dentist check-ups.
Two sure signs that you should go and get your teeth looked at by a dental professional include discomfort or pain, and if your teeth are changing in colour or getting darker.
Pain will often mean that the pulp is infected or the tooth nerve is dying. Many people think that once the nerve is dead you won’t feel anything. This is not the case, as the pain doesn’t come from inside the tooth, but from nerve endings on the tooth’s exterior. These are referred to as the periodontal membrane.
If you have an infected tooth that is causing you a great deal of pain, pulling it out may seem like a no-brainer. But wait! Pulling an infected tooth is not always the best choice. There are many benefits to maintaining your natural teeth if possible. In the end, it is your personal choice, but it is important to have all the facts before making such an important decision.
What are the benefits of saving your real teeth? Endodontists, dental specialists who focus on saving teeth, have some answers to this question.
There are many reasons that you should try to preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible. However, infection and tooth decay can make this difficult and you may have to choose between preserving your tooth or pulling it. If you want to save the tooth, you will normally have a root canal, in which the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected to get rid of the infected interior. The tooth is then filled with a substance that strengthens and protects it, allowing it to function like all your other teeth. In addition to saving your tooth, you have a faster recovery and faster relief from the pain.
Saving your tooth is always preferred but there are circumstances in which you have no choice but to extract it. If the tooth is cracked, especially below the gum line or in more than one place, there may be no way to save it. If it is too weak to be fixed, it may be best to pull it out.
If your dentist tells you that you need a tooth extracted, ask whether a root canal may be an option. Having this conversation can help you answer this important question before making any decisions.
A root canal treatment (RCT) or endodontic treatment is a procedure that dentists use to treat infected, or dead, teeth. A root canal procedure involves removing the dead or dying material, then ‘filling in’ the root canals inside the teeth. Without a root canal treatment, abscesses may form when the tissue around the tooth becomes infected.
A tooth becomes infected when bacteria enters the nerve (pulp) of the tooth. This can occur due to:
Usually, you will become aware of an infected tooth due to toothache – and you should visit your dentist for a check-up as soon as possible. If an infection is left untreated, this can lead to a dental abscess; which is a collection of pus in the bone underneath the infected tooth.
Root canal treatment (RCT) should be initiated as soon as possible after a tooth infection is diagnosed. Before your dentist commences RCT, your tooth will need to be x-rayed so that the anatomy of the root can be assessed. At this stage, your dentist may decide that the procedure would be best performed by a specialist endodontist.
Simple, single-rooted tooth RCT can be completed in about an hour, whilst multi-rooted teeth and more complex cases may take several dental visits to complete.
RCT is often performed under local anaesthetic on teeth, which are isolated from saliva and soft tissue by a sheet of rubber placed over the tooth called a ‘rubber dam’. Once the rubber dam is in place, your dentist will drill directly into the tooth to gain access to the root canal system in the centre. He will then look for the entrance to the root canal(s). Once all of the canals have been found, they are cleaned and shaped using various instruments. The length of the canal(s) is determined by x-rays and/or an electronic device.
The canals are then permanently filled to prevent bacteria from re-entering the canal system. A final x-ray will be taken to check that the canals have been filled completely and to the correct length.
Root-filled teeth are more likely to fracture than healthy teeth and you will usually require a crown to protect and reconstruct your tooth after the root canal treatment has been done.
After RCT, you may experience a little discomfort for a few days, but this should then disappear, leaving a tooth which feels normal, just like its neighbours.