While dental fillings can last for many years, they can still fail and need replacement. The constant force brought upon by chewing, drinking, or even stress due to teeth clenching or grinding can cause the fillings to chip, crack, or fall out. This can provide a portal for the bacteria to get in and invade the space between the worn filling and tooth.

If dental fillings fail or fall out unexpectedly, you will feel pain and discomfort. This is because it exposes the tooth tissue that is usually sensitive to chewing pressure, as well as hot and cold temperatures. Emergency dental care centers in Meridian note that there also are cases where a filling falls out due to the development of decay underneath it.

See your dentist

If your filling fell out, remove it from your mouth to avoid chewing or swallowing it. Then, schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible to have your tooth checked and make sure that there is no infection or any other problem. The process can be as simple as replacing the worn filling, but there are also cases where your dentist will perform additional procedures to stabilize the tooth.

Know your options

macro of tooth with filling

There are many options for dental fillings, and each of them has pros and cons. The best filler for you will depend on several factors, like your budget, the location of the filling, as well as your aesthetic preferences. The two most common types are amalgam and composite or filled fillings:

  • Amalgam fillings – These are strong, stable fillings made of a combination of different metallic elements like copper, silver, tin, and mercury. Amalgam fillings are durable and highly resistant to wear, making them an ideal choice for filling the molars or the back of the mouth where most chewing takes place. They are also less expensive than composite fillings, but they can be visible when you laugh or smile.
  • Composite fillings – These are made of a combination of acrylic resin and quartz or glass-like particles that are finely ground to produce a filling that matches the color of your tooth. They are relatively durable and resistant and are suitable for small-to-mid-sized tooth restorations. These include areas of the mouth that can bear moderate chewing pressure.
  • Glass ionomer – This cavity filling is made of a mixture of acrylic or organic acid and a glass powder that can release fluoride to protect the teeth. The sad part is it is less durable than other types of fillings and may need to be replaced in a few years.

Keep up with dental visits

Regular dental visits can help detect early problems with your fillings, such as uneven wear, cracks, or clear margins. Your dentist can also perform a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, as well as offer you additional tips for controlling plaque, which is the primary cause of decay. This is to avoid other dental issues that compromise the filling or restoration.

If you, for instance, notice worn areas or cracks in your dental fillings, be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible. Take note that continuing to eat with a cracked or worn filling can damage your teeth, which will require an additional (and possibly more expensive) dental procedure. If there is decay around it, your dentist might have to repair the tooth with a crown rather than a second filling.