Fillings and Inlays

Colored Dental Tooth Fillings
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“Your child has a cavity.”

Not many parents want to hear those words, especially if their child has dental anxiety.

Last summer, I saw a three year old child who needed to have a filling on one of his upper molars.

Green Colored FillingThe only reason he sat still in the chair long enough for us to remove the decay and get a filling put in was because we told him we were going to give him a yellow colored filling.

He loved tractors, and wanted it to be yellow like his toy tractor. When he was all done, we took a picture of it and gave it to him so he could show his friends and family.

I’ve found that giving children a colored filling (along with some other things we do to make the comfortable), helps them to sit in the dental chair and get their mentalhealthupdate.com needed dental work completed.

Find out why baby teeth need to have fillings if they just fall out.

Colored Fillings

Pink Colored FillingColored fillings are made of the same composite materials as tooth-colored fillings, they simply have more exciting coloring added to them.

At our office, we have five colors to choose from: blue, green, yellow, orange, and pink.

To the right, you can see how the pink filling looks on a tooth – it’s what most of the girls end up choosing.  That filling, as well as the green one above, was placed to fill in a cavity that formed between the teeth, which is one of the more common places you can get a cavity.

While we can do a colored filling to repair most cavities in baby teeth, nobody has had us do one on a front tooth yet!

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Tooth Sensitive After Dental Filling
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Many people experience sensitivity after getting a dental filling.  As I’ve mentioned, sometimes this sensitivity can be attributed to a high filling.

A tooth can also be sensitive after a filling due to other reasons.  Here are a few reasons why your tooth might be sensitive after a filling and what you can do about it.

Why Your Tooth Is Sensitive After a Filling

Tooth Sensitive After FillingWhen you sit down in the dental chair to get a filling, one of the first things that the dentist will do is to give you an anesthetic injection to make it so you can’t feel the pain of the upcoming dental procedure.

When your dentist goes in and removes the decay from your tooth, it is very painful and can traumatize the tooth.  Luckily, due to the anesthetic, you usually don’t feel the pain caused by this process of repairing your tooth.  This is the main cause of tooth sensitivity after a filling — your body is simply telling you that the tooth was traumatized.

The bigger your cavity (and resulting filling), the more likely it is that you will experience sensitivity after the filling is done.

Other than trauma, there are a few other reasons why you might experience a sensitive tooth after a filling:

  • If you have a high filling
  • If you have a large metal filling – it can conduct cold more quickly to the nerve of the tooth.  Also, if your dentist didn’t use a material to seal the tiny tubes that travel from the filling to the nerve, it can cause increased sensitivity.
  • If you have a large white filling – if it is placed too quickly, it can cause stress on the surrounding tooth structure

What to Do When Your Tooth Is Sensitive After a Filling

In most cases, you don’t need to do anything — your dental pulp will gradually insulate itself from the filling, which should cause the sensitivity to go away.  This process can take anywhere from one to several weeks.

If your sensitivity does not resolve and feels like it’s getting worse, then you should see your dentist.  It could be that you have a high filling, or that the filling needs to be redone.

Conclusion

In summary, know that having a sensitive tooth after a filling is completely normal.  Sensitivity that gets worse is not normal.  Worsening sensitivity is a sign that something is wrong and you should see your dentist to determine the problem so that a solution can be found.

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about tooth sensitivity after a filling?  Go ahead and leave them in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

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High Dental Filling Problems
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Many people wonder what they should do when they come home from the dentist after getting a filling and notice that their bite isn’t quite right. If you end up having problems with a filling, it’s always best to check back with your dentist to see if you have a high filling.

If your filling is high, the dentist can simply smooth it down. High Filling ProblemsSmoothing down a filling is usually a quick procedure and doesn’t require any injections.

Here are seven problems that a high filling can cause.

Problems That a High Filling Can Cause

Keep in mind that some people with a high filling may experience many of these problems while others might not go through any of these difficulties.

1 – Biting Pain

The ligament may become inflamed around the tooth, causing the tooth to hurt when you bite down on it.  This may affect the tooth with the high filling, but it can also affect other teeth if the high filling has thrown off your bite.

2 – Aching and Sensitivity

The tooth may develop pulpitis.  It could become sensitive to hot and cold or it may simply ache.

Find out more about pulpitis here.

3 – Excessive Tooth Wear

The tooth can wear down rapidly.  Also, other teeth may wear down if the high filling causes you to shift your bite slightly.

Learn about the four ways that your teeth get worn down.

4 – Loose Teeth

The tooth can become loose.  If the high filling causes your jaw to shift, other teeth can become loose if they are subjected to high forces that didn’t exist before the high filling.

5 – Muscle Pain

The muscles in your jaw can ache because your bite has changed and the muscles are forced to adapt after so many years of moving your jaw in it’s natural bite.  This can make it difficult to open your mouth and/or chew your food.

6 – TMJ Problems

Problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can occur due to the abnormal movement that now takes place due to the high filling.

7 – Headaches and Stress

The muscle pain coupled with the TMJ pain can bring on headaches and increased stress in your life.

Don’t Ignore a High Filling

If you think that you have a high filling and you are in pain, it’s a good idea to get it checked out before a small problem turns into a bigger one.

If you have any questions, comments, or personal experiences, please share them below!

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Filling Fell Out of Front Tooth
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I got an email earlier this week from a reader named Trish.  She asked the following:

“What will happen if the filling comes out of your tooth, and you don’t have it replaced, other than pain trying to eat?”

Lost Filling from ToothBefore I answer that question, let’s take a look at why fillings fall out.  A  filling normally doesn’t fall out of your tooth just for fun – it usually has a pretty good reason!  Fillings can come out because of decay around the filling, because the filling cracked, or because it wasn’t put in properly.

Basically, if your filling fell out, chances are that there was something wrong and you should get your tooth looked at by a dentist.

If the filling came out and it was recently put in, your dentist might give you a break and put a new filling in.  If it was an old filling and it just came out, you may have a cavity under the filling.

Regardless of why the filling fell out, it’s important to replace it.  To answer Trish’s question, here’s a list of eight things that could happen to your tooth if your filling fell out and you don’t have it replaced.

Eight Things that Can Happen If You Don’t Replace a Lost Filling

1 – Sensitivity

When you lose a filling, it exposes the sensitive dentin (the inner hard layer of your tooth) to your mouth.  Depending on how close the filling was to the pulp of your tooth, it could hurt all the time or only when you eat, as Trish mentioned above.  Either way, the pain means that there’s something wrong that needs to get taken care of!

Not sure what dentin and pulp are?  Check out my article on the anatomy of a tooth to find out!

2 – Root Canal

The pulp inside of your tooth could get irritated, causing pulpitis.  The textbook Clinical Endodontics by Leif Tronstad states, “Factors leading to an infectious pulpitis are conditions that contribute to the exposure of the dentin and dentinal tubules to the oral environment.”

3 – It’s Harder to Clean

Teeth are hard to clean when they have a big gaping hole in them.  Even if you can get the toothbrush bristles down to the bottom of the hole where the filling was, chances are that you won’t be able to easily clean out the entire hole where the filling was located.

4 – Bad Breath

When you eat food, the natural contours of the teeth allow you to efficiently chew and grind the food into little, easily-digested pieces.  When you have a hole in your tooth and you chew, you push the food down into the hole.  Since teeth with lost fillings are more difficult to clean (see #3), that food could be sitting in there for quite some time and cause your breath to be less than pleasant to those around you!  Even if you do have bad breath, people probably aren’t going to tell you.

5 – Tooth Decay

Because the tooth is harder to clean and you’re buyonlinegenericmeds.com grinding food into it every time you eat, it’s much easier for you to get a cavity in that tooth.  If the reason that you lost the filling was because you had a cavity under it, the cavity will probably get bigger the longer treatment is put off.

6 – The Tooth Could Crack or Break

If the tooth goes for a long time with a lost filling, it may develop a cavity, which can subsequently weaken the tooth structure and cause the tooth to break or crack.  Without the filling, the tooth will also experience different forces that end up causing it to break.

7 – Difficulty Repairing Tooth With a White Filling

When you lose a filling and expose the dentin to your saliva, the dentin reacts by trying to fight off the bacteria.  The little tubules inside the dentin eventually close off to try to protect the nerve of the tooth.  When this happens, it is known as sclerotic dentin.  A problem with sclerotic dentin is that it is much harder to get a white filling to bond to sclerotic dentin than it is to get a white filling to bond to regular dentin.

8 – The Tooth May Need to Be Extracted

If you wait too long, the tooth may break and become so badly decayed that it is what dentists like to call unrestorable.  That means that just like Humpty Dumpty, nobody will be able to put that tooth back together again, and it will have to come out.

What Are Your Options When a Filling Falls Out?

I assume that Trish wants to know what would happen because she either has a fear of the dentist or can’t afford to get a new filling right now.

If fear is keeping you away from the dentist, take a look at this article about reasons people are scared of the dentist, and then figure out your fear and try to overcome it.  There is help available online at sites like Dental Fear Central.

If cost is keeping you away from the dentist, then you can call your dentist and ask how much a temporary filling would cost.  A temporary filling would allow you to get the tooth filled fairly inexpensively until you can save up for a permanent filling.  An even more temporary solution is to try some temporary filling materials until you can see your dentist.  I talk about a few different brands in my article about what you should do when you lose a filling from your tooth.

Conclusion

If you have a filling come out, it’s necessary to get the filling replaced as soon as possible to ensure the long-term health of your tooth.  If you can’t afford it, there are temporary solutions available that you dentist may discuss with you.

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about losing a filling from your tooth?  Go ahead and leave a comment in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you.  Thanks for reading!

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What do White and Silver Fillings Look Like?
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At my dental school, we recommend silver fillings for the back teeth since silver fillings last longer than white fillings.  However, many people are hesitant to get silver fillings because they stand out, and they don’t want other people to notice them.

If you are also wondering what the difference in appearance between white and silver fillings looks like, then this article is for you!

What a Silver Dental Filling Looks Like

In the picture below, you can see see four silver fillings.  Two are on the left on the top of two teeth.  Two silver fillings are also present on the right: one on the top of the tooth and one in the pit on the side of the tooth.

Silver Dental Fillings

As you can see, silver fillings are noticeable.  However, during your everyday routine, people aren’t likely to see your back teeth.  Because of this, it is usually a good idea to get silver fillings on your back teeth because they are stronger and are more resistant to getting new cavities around them than the newer white fillings.

Another thing you may notice in the above picture is that this person’s lower front teeth are worn down.  You can learn more about the four ways we wear down our teeth here.

What a White Dental Filling Looks Like

White fillings are matched to your tooth’s color by your dentist.  Thus they actually vary from white to gray to even yellowish shades.

As you can see below, the man has numerous white fillings on his back teeth (this is a view of his upper teeth from below). This picture is a good example of how picking the wrong shade of white can make a filling stand out even more.  Some of the fillings are easy to see because they are not matched very well to the shade of the tooth.

White Composite Dental Fillings

I have the arrow pointing at one of the more inconspicuous white fillings where the shade of filling material more closely resembles the tooth’s natural shade.  If you look closely you can see that in the middle of that tooth there is a big white filling.

Conclusion

As you can see, white fillings are definitely less noticeable than silver fillings.  They can be more noticeable if their shade doesn’t exactly match the shade of your tooth.

At my dental school, we generally recommend white fillings in the front teeth and silver fillings in the back teeth.  That way, you can have the strength of the silver fillings in the back of your mouth where there is a lot of force every time you chew, and the white fillings in the front teeth so that you have an aesthetically-pleasing smile.

If you have any questions or comments about white or silver fillings, go ahead and write them below in the comments section.  Thanks for reading!