General dentistry focuses on keeping your mouth healthy, preventing oral problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily are the foundation of good oral hygiene. A quality mouthwash provides an additional layer of protection.Oral bacteria cause most of the problems that develop in your mouth. Tooth decay is caused…
Ask an Emergency Dentist: What Causes a Filling to Fall Out?
If you have an emergency, like a broken dental filling, an emergency dentist’s office should be your next stop. You may be surprised to find out that the cavity you filled recently has fallen apart and you cannot seem to wrap your head around it. The truth is, dental fillings are not permanent and there are a couple of reasons a dental filling might fall out.
The process of filling a tooth
A healthy oral cavity is possible only if the teeth and gums are healthy and is primarily affected by a person’s oral care habits – brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. Sometimes, regardless of the level of oral hygiene, cavities can occur due to bacterial plaques. Dentists restore the appearance and function of a decayed tooth by filling the cavity with dental fillings.
To fill the cavity, the dentist will first clean all the decay in the tooth. After removing the decay, the cavity will be cleaned before placing the filling material – usually composite resin. After filling the tooth, it should function as it should. The new filling should last between five to fifteen years, depending on maintenance and level of oral care. Once the filling deteriorates, a replacement will be necessary to keep the tooth functional.
Why a filling may fall out
The following are some of the causes of broken dental fillings:
The seal used to hold the dental filling to the tooth enamel may weaken over time, leaving the tooth vulnerable to invasion by bacterial plaque and food debris. Old fillings tend to fall out on their own. Also, if the cavity was not cleaned properly and prepared before placing the dental filling, it may lead to further decay and eventual infection of the tooth pulp. If infection sets in, patients may develop an abscessed tooth – a severe infection of the gum and tooth – which may cause the dental filling to fall out, and ultimately, lose the tooth.
A tooth that has been filled is still vulnerable to cavities. As the decay worsens, more of the tooth's structure is lost, and it may be unable to support a new filling. Applying filling on a severely-decayed tooth is not advisable since the filling will eventually break under pressure. In this case, the patient will need a crown from the emergency dentist to hold the tooth together.
Undue pressure on a dental filling, from chewing hard foods or teeth grinding and clenching, can cause it to break or fall out. If it is painless, the patient may not notice tooth breakage, aside from the filling material dropping into their mouth. It is important to visit the emergency dentist immediately for treatment.
Dental fillings are bound to deteriorate with time. To elongate their lifespan, take good care of your teeth and visit the dentist regularly for a checkup. If the dental filling falls out, contact the emergency dentist for help immediately. They will recommend the appropriate treatment to restore your teeth.
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