Keeping your teeth young
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Keeping your teeth young

As we get older suddenly we realised many things we didn't appreciate about being young - being fit, having smooth skin and having all your own teeth. As our loose teeth (and bridges) struggle to deal with chewier food we start eating bland mush and, there is no easy way to say this, OLD PEOPLE FOOD. I'm determined not to let that happen to me and I'm doing everything I can to keep my own teeth as long as possible, and when that's not possible to get the best possible teeth replacement. If you are like me and want to keep on eating whatever you want, I think you'll like my site. It's all about dental health and teeth replacement & maintenance.

Keeping your teeth young

The End of the Road: When It's Time to Have Your Dental Filling Replaced

Mabel Hicks

Although a dental filling should permanently stop a cavity dead in its tracks, the filling itself isn't a permanent solution. When you have a cavity filled, you're unlikely to wonder what happens next, because any flaws in the filling won't develop for many years—if not a decade or more. A filling may completely detach from the tooth, but in many cases, the filling won't abruptly fail one day. The signs of a filling coming to the end of its useful life are usually more subtle.

It Starts With Discomfort

Some minor discomfort in the affected tooth can be the first indication that your filling has begun its endgame. This can be pressure related—a sharp jolt of pain when you close your jaw, bringing the tooth into direct contact with its counterpart in the opposing dental arch. Discomfort can also be triggered by eating and drinking, especially foods and drinks at opposite ends of the temperature spectrum (as in, either very cold or very hot). This is because the filling is no longer protecting the tooth.

Why You're Feeling This Discomfort

When the filling has been breached, the underlying dentin is exposed. This dentin actually forms the majority of the tooth's structure and is capable of transmitting stimuli to the nerve at the centre of the tooth. This happens via multiple tubules (microscopic canals) in the dentin, which lead from the dentin's outer wall into the nerve. It doesn't take a large breach for this to happen, and it can be as simple as a filling that has begun to deteriorate.

Without Treatment, It Will Only Get Worse

A deteriorating filling is rarely a dental emergency (and this is only the case if your pain is severe). However, the problem (and your discomfort) will only escalate. You're also at risk of having bacteria contaminate the tooth's nerve. If this should happen, you may need a root canal in addition to any other restoration work the tooth needs.

A New Filling

If you don't delay, all you should need is another dental restoration, which is simply another filling. Your dentist will remove the existing filling and will inspect the underlying structure of the tooth. If the cavity has caused further decay, this must be removed. And then the cavity is filled, and once again (provided you maintain a high standard of oral hygiene), you won't need to think about the tooth and its restoration for many years to come.

Don't wait too long if you think one of your fillings is about to give up. Having a filling replaced is very simple, and is definitely going to be preferable to needing a root canal in addition to a dental restoration.

Contact your dentist if you have more questions.