Dental fillings are used to fill in cavities that result from mild to severe tooth decay. Fillings can last several years, but they have a limited lifespan. Tooth fillings that have lasted several years may start to chip and fall out. Dental habits such as vigorous brushing and biting down on hard substances can also weaken tooth fillings, causing them to fall out. Unfortunately, when this happens, you should replace the fillings immediately. Here are three potential dangers of failing to treat this situation as a dental emergency.
Tooth pain and sensitivity
Dental fillings are used to treat cavities. Before placing the filling, the dentist uses a specialised appliance to remove the decayed part of the tooth. They then fill the hole using silver amalgam, composite resin or porcelain fillings. Therefore, if the fillings fall out, a hole is left in their place. This hole can cause pain, discomfort and sensitivity when chewing or eating hot or cold foods. This is because the exposed tooth tissue is sensitive to cold, heat and pressure. Failure to get new fillings can cause prolonged pain, limit your diet options and lower your quality of life.
Dental infection and inflammation
When a tooth filling falls out, the hole left behind can trap food particles and attract harmful oral bacteria. The bacteria invade the dental pulp and spread all the way to the root. This usually occurs if you had minor cavities and got fillings without getting a root canal treatment. Once the bacteria has spread to the root, it can cause inflammation and dental infection. Infections can give rise to various symptoms, such as severe tooth pain, sensitivity, jaw pain and swollen lymph nodes. If you don't replace the fillings, you may suffer severe tooth decay, which will necessitate root canal treatment.
Cracked tooth and potential tooth loss
Before placing dental fillings, the dentist removes the decayed part of the tooth. Consequently, the natural tooth is weakened due to the absence of some tissue. A dental filling not only covers the hole but also strengthens the tooth and restores its shape. Therefore, when the filling falls out, you are left with a weak tooth. Failure to replace the filling can cause the tooth to chip or crack when chewing hard foods. Severe chips and cracks may force you to extract the tooth or get a dental crown procedure.
If your dental filling falls out, stop eating immediately and take the filling out. Don't ignore this issue because it can lead to serious dental issues and costly treatment. Instead, visit an emergency dentist immediately for a filling replacement.