You’re eating a piece of food and all of a sudden you notice your dental filling came out. Has this happened to you or do you know someone who this has happened to?
There are a couple of reasons why this can happen and we will run through a few reasons:
- Old fillings: A dental filling may last many years; however, they will eventually need to be replaced due to the constant “beating” your teeth take from eating, drinking, grinding, and clenching. Dependent on the type of material filling you have, we can usually determine how long the filling will last. It was common in the past to place amalgam (silver) fillings due to their longevity; however, due to the mechanical retention property, silver fillings can lead to hairline fractures in your teeth over time and eventually the loss of the filling and/or cracked teeth. This is why it’s best to have fillings examined regularly, so that problems like these can be detected early.
- Decay: Over time fillings may wear away or crack and cause small gaps between the filling and the tooth that allow for an entry point for bacteria. Bacteria that naturally forms in the mouth may find its way through this “open seal”. Therefore, decay may develop around and beneath the margin of the filling, further weakening the filling and the tooth. Sometimes the filling will fall out due to this reason. When this happens, it is important to treat the tooth right away before more extensive treatment is needed. Do NOT wait until you feel pain.
It is important to keep up with your routine visits to the dentist, so that we can work together to be proactive and avoid any “lost fillings” in the future.