How to Tell If You Need Fillings

You should probably know by now that taking care of your teeth is a crucial part of your overall health. You of course need to brush and floss regularly, but you’re also going to need to look out for the signs and symptoms that indicate that you might need dental fillings. Undiagnosed tooth decay can cause huge problems later in life (premature loss of your teeth leading to poor chewing function, infection and unsightly gaps to name a few) so it’s important to be able to identify them sooner rather than later. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to the common signs and symptoms that indicate you may need a filling for your tooth. 

Explaining dental fillings

Tooth fillings bond to your teeth and fill cavities caused by decay or cover parts of teeth that have been chipped. Made from non toxic substances, they are a key element of dentistry and return decayed teeth to the right shape. Dentists use a few types of fillings; the first two are composite and GIC (Glass ionomer cement) which are white to match your teeth, and a third type (not used at Hobsonville Point Dental) is called mercury amalgam which is a silver coloured filling material. Fillings can last for many many years if they are placed expertly before the cavity gets too large and they are well looked after following the procedure. Smaller fillings will generally last longer compared to bigger fillings which require a lot more precision to place. 

Fillings – when do I need them?

There can be several reasons why you may need a tooth filling however often a cavity in your tooth has no symptoms to alert you that you have a problem, however you may feel sensitivity while drinking or eating very hot or cold liquids and foods, such as ice cream.  You may experience a toothache that gets worse with time, and makes it difficult to bite or chew. Other symptoms include pain and swelling in your gums. You may take painkillers to temporarily relieve the pain (taking a painkiller that you would normally take for a headachea), but make sure to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Tooth decay is caused by acids which are released by acid loving bacteria that live in the plaque biofilm sitting on your teeth. This acid disolves tooth causing cavity formation.  In most cases a dentist will treat this problem with a filling to avoid further progression of the cavity. If the decay is too large or has spread, then a dentist may give you other restorative options such as a dental crown or overlay. If  decay has spread deep into the tooth the nerve can be affected leading to the death of the nerve and abscess formation in the bone above the tooth root. This would then lead to the tooth requiring either a root canal treatment or losing the tooth by extraction. 

Signs and Symptoms - what may alert you that you have a cavity

  1. Caitys often have no symptoms which is why regular visits to your dentist are advised. Early diagnosis of dental decay can lead to easy inexpensive solutions
  2. Pain to hot, cold and eating or drinking sweet food
  3. Pain chewing on a tooth
  4. Food trapping between teeth
  5. sharp or rough patches on your teeth
  6. Floss breaking or fraying
  7. Gum swelling around a tooth

Stay aware of these signs and symptoms that may require a filling, and maintain healthy teeth habits for a beautiful smile! 

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