What Are Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings are treatments that can be made up of several materials like gold, or silver. The porcelain used to restore the function, morphology, and integrity of a missing tooth.
Dental fillings always last for a long time, but not forever. It can last for a period between 7-20 years.
Hygiene, eating habits, and what we use them to chew, can affect how long they can last. Seeing your dentist regularly is a good method to enable your fillings last longer.
According to Rothschild, the lifetime of a filling is also affected by its size and positions, as amalgam fillings can last between 5-25 years, composite fillings can last between 5-15 years, while gold fillings can last between 15-30 years. A filling even within its life span range, can become loose. When it gets loose, it falls out after some time.
Reasons Why Fillings Become Loose.
- Biting into hard or crunchy foods.
- Chewing too hard.
- Decay around the filling.
- A chemical reaction causes the filling to lose its bond to the teeth.
Complications of Loose Dental Fillings.
- It can cause damage to the unprotected tooth, if not replaced after a few days of falling out.
- It can cause decay.
- Exposure of dentin, the second layer of the tooth under the hard outer enamel, which is more sensitive, and more prone to decay.
- Further damage to the tooth by decay can cause crown retraction.
Prevention of Loose Dental Fillings.
Good oral hygiene which includes;
- Brushing with fluoride at least twice a day.
- Flossing your teeth every day.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
- A regular dental checkup at least once every 6 months, can help catch any problem early.
- Avoid grinding of teeth.
- Do not clench your teeth too often.
- Avoid excessive sugary food.
- Avoid biting into hard objects, or hard food.
What to do if a Filling Comes Loose.
The first thing to always do if your filling comes loose, or falls out is to contact your dentist immediately, so that you can get it replaced immediately. While waiting for the appointment with the dentist, here is a few things you can do.
- Keep the filling so that the dentist will determine if he can reuse it.
- Gargle the area with salt water to keep the area clean, sanitized, and free from food debris.
- Avoid chewing on the exposed tooth.
- Use dental wax, or temporary filling material to protect the exposed tooth.
If your dentist is not close, or unable to see you, it is advisable you contact a new dentist immediately.
However in the words of Kenneth Rothschild, an experienced dentist,
“Usually, a dental office will do its utmost to see you promptly”.
If you have to wait for some time to see the dentist, and you are in pain, you should consider doing the following things:
- Use clove oil to the uncovered tooth, and gum.
- Use a cold compress, or an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time, to relieve pain and swelling.
- Apply a topical numbing agent.
- Take an over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, to reduce pain and swelling.
Payment for Replacement Of Dental Fillings, and Cover by Insurance.
If your filling is recent, you are most likely to get a discount at the replacement filling. It can also be done free by some dentists or business managers out of goodwill.
If you do not get this, it might cost almost the same as the original filling, or even more if the underlying dentin, or pulp is damaged; or has decay that will require a procedure such as a root canal.
Some extenuating circumstances, such as the age of the filling, the cause of loose filling can trigger this.
Insurance can cover this as dental insurance varies greatly. The good news is that generally, most plans cover part or all cost of dental fillings, which include also replacement cost.
However, it is best to check in advance with the insurance company and be certain.