If you need a filling for a cavity, you’re not alone. An estimated 100 million fillings are placed in patients’ mouths each year in the United States. Most of the time, these fillings will endure for anywhere from 5 to 15 years. Occasionally, however, it’s necessary to repair or replace a filling before then. Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz shares important information about handling loose fillings in Astoria, NY. Why do fillings loosen or fall out?
Even though filling materials are meant to last for several years, occasionally one will loosen and fall out. There are several reasons why your restoration may not live up to wear and tear. If your tooth enamel becomes eroded by acid or worn down by teeth grinding, the shape of the tooth itself changes and the filling no longer fits properly. Biting your fingernails, using your teeth to open packages, and gnawing on pencils could also crack a filling.
My filling is loose! What do I do?
If your filling feels loose, it’s best to notify your dentist as quickly as possible and make an appointment to have it repaired. In the meantime, Dr. Leibowitz recommends using the opposite side of your mouth to chew your food to avoid pulling the filling out altogether. Do not avoid brushing and flossing between the rest of your teeth, as this could lead to plaque formation, bad breath, and an increased risk of an oral infection. Chewing gum should be avoided, too.
These guidelines are especially important when dealing with a lost filling. Without the filling in place, the tooth no longer has protection against bacteria, acid, and food. The unprotected tooth could easily sustain structural damage, and most cavities are located in areas that are difficult to reach with your toothbrush alone. The longer you go without a filling, the more likely it is that debris will build up in the area. If this happens, a dental crown may be needed instead of another filling. If an infection sets in, you may require root canal treatment.
How will my dentist treat my filling?
When you visit Dr. Leibowitz, he will closely examine the tooth and filling to determine whether it would be best to repair or replace your restoration. If replacing it is your best option, he will recommend either an amalgam filling or one made of tooth-colored composite resin. Amalgam is extremely durable but is silver in color; this makes it ideal for filling cavities in your back teeth. Composite is durable as well, and its ability to match practically any shade of natural tooth enamel benefits patients who need fillings in their front or side teeth.
Need a tooth-colored filling in Astoria, NY? To learn more about preventing and treating tooth decay, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, contact us at (718) 728-8320. We offer preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry to residents of Astoria, Queens, NYC, upstate New York, and New Jersey.