How to Deal With a Loose Dental Filling

How to Deal With a Loose Dental Filling

How to Deal With a Loose Dental Filling

Dental fillings are one of the oldest ways to fill cavities and restore decayed teeth. They are used to fill holes caused by tooth decay. Their function is to cover the exposed inner tooth and protect it from infection by harmful mouth bacteria.

Dental fillings are durable tooth restorations that allow the teeth to chew and grind, just like healthy teeth. However, even the most durable fillings come loose in certain situations, and if this happens, you have to take immediate steps to get the filling replaced.

Here is a guide on how to know if your filling has come loose and what to do if it has.

Why dental fillings come loose

Fillings may be tough and durable, but they have their limits. Time, trauma, stress and tooth decay can all damage dental fillings. Here are some ways in which fillings get damaged:

  • Biting down on hard foods and objects like nuts, ice chips and bottle caps can loosen the filling or fracture it, along with the tooth itself
  • The continued decay of the filled tooth
  • Becoming old and worn out
  • Signs that a dental filling is loose or broken

1. Visual signs

Sometimes, there are visible signs of a loose or damaged filling. In fact, whenever a patient goes in for a routine dental checkup, the dentist will do a visual exam of the filled teeth.

If the dentist sees holes or black spots near the filling, they will conclude that the filling is damaged. Gaps between the tooth and the filling are also visual signs of a loose filling.

2. Roughness

If the tongue feels that the surfaces of a filled tooth are rough, then its owner will know that it is time to get the filling replaced.

3. Pain and sensitivity

A person will know that their filling is loose if they experience:

  • Sensitivity to foods and drinks that are hot, cold or sweet
  • Pressure when chewing
  • A mild or severe toothache
  • Effects of loose dental fillings

When a filling comes loose, it exposes the inner tooth to harmful bacteria, pressure, heat and cold. Exposure to these things will inflame and irritate the dentin and nerves, causing pain and discomfort.

Food may also find its way into the tooth via the gap left by the loose filling. The bacteria in the tooth will use the food as an energy source to infect the tooth and cause further decay.

How to deal with a loose filling

A person should schedule a dentist appointment immediately when they notice a problem. While they wait to see the dentist, they should clean the tooth by brushing it carefully and gurgling with antiseptic mouthwash to slow down the activity of harmful bacteria.

To manage the pain, a person can use an ice pack to numb the tooth. They can also use over-the-counter pain medication.

All these are stopgap measures; they are no substitute for dental treatment. When a person finally sees the dentist, the filling will be removed and the tooth cleaned. And depending on the dentist's treatment plan, a new restoration will be fitted.

How to prevent a filling from coming loose

A person can increase the structural integrity and lifespan of their filling by taking a few precautions:

  • Choose a reputable and skilled dentist who will put in a filling in a way that will allow it to last
  • Avoid biting down on hard things that could damage the filling
  • Observe good oral habits
  • Get a dentist to check on the health of the fillings on a regular basis
  • Choose a more permanent tooth restoration

Since there is always a chance that a dental filling will come loose, have it replaced with a more permanent tooth restoration. Consider a dental onlay, which will not only fill the damaged tooth, it will also support the tooth's outer structure. Or, you can get a dental crown, which is a far more durable method of restoring the tooth.

Go ahead and see a dentist. They will remove your loose filling and recommend a course of treatment that will best suit your needs.

Request an appointment here: or call Advanced Dentistry Of Walnut Creek at (925) 937-2273 for an appointment in our Walnut Creek office.

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