Although everyone wants to retain their natural teeth, there are situations that may call for tooth extraction, replacement or restoration. Dental fillings are commonly used to replace your tooth structure and restore a damaged tooth to its normal shape and function. These fillings are used when teeth are damaged due to decay, trauma, injury, or any other dental problem. But, fillings don’t last forever; they are prone to decay because of several reasons. They can become discolored, develop cracks due to tremendous pressure, or simply wear out. Hence, they need to be replaced. Many people avoid replacing a filling just because the problem is not indicated by pain. However, there are several other signs and symptoms apart from the pain that call for replacing a filling.
If There are Cracks in your Fillings
Fillings are of two kinds, amalgam or silver and composite or tooth-colored. Both of these are prone to cracking. Cracks can occur within the limited time of them being placed or even after years of placing them. If the filling is higher than the other teeth when placed, it can crack due to tremendous pressure bore by it alone. Pressure from chewing or biting on hard foods can also cause the filling to crack. Moreover, it may crack as the filling wears out. While minor cracks may be repaired, in the case of severe cracks, the dentist may suggest replacing the filling.
If your Fillings Leak
When a filling does not fit tightly to the tooth, it can start leaking. The loose fit allows debris and saliva to enter and get trapped between the filling and tooth causing cavities, decay, sensitivity or discoloration. Sensitivity to cold is a symptom that your amalgam filling is leaking. While the sensitivity may disappear within a few weeks, the filling starts corroding over the period that may lead to dental issues. A composite filling can also be contaminated by saliva, weakening the bond between the filling and the tooth, resulting in a leak. This leads to sensitivity and increases the risk of decay. Hence, it is best to get your leaking fillings replaced.
If your Fillings are Worn Out
Fillings tend to wear out over time due to several reasons including tremendous pressure from chewing and biting, and poor oral hygiene. While some fillings can last for 15 years or more, there are others that need replacement within 5-10 years. Worn out fillings may not necessarily cause pain or sensitivity, but they can lead to tooth decay and other dental issues. Hence, it is best to consult a dentist regularly to determine if the fillings have worn enough for replacement.
If you Clench and Grind your Teeth
Clenching or grinding of teeth puts pressure on your teeth, resulting in extra wear and tear of your fillings. This habit can also cause teeth and fillings to crack and develop fine lines. These fine lines are minor unnoticeable cracks, which if not taken care of, may enlarge causing further damage. Hence, it is best to get a replacement for a filling worn out due to grinding of teeth. You may also consult the dentist for solutions to eliminate the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth.
While all these symptoms demand for replacing a filling, they may not give out signs of damage. This may lead to a dental emergency if the damage goes past repair. Hence, it is best to maintain oral hygiene and visit a dentist on a regular basis to avoid severe dental issues.
Everyone dislikes facing emergency situations. People are generally aware of handling most health emergency situations. However, few know how to handle a dental emergency. A dental emergency can be described as an injury to your teeth, gums or inside your mouth that needs immediate professional attention. It can occur anytime ranging from minor issues like a chipped tooth to severe problems like a knocked out tooth. Ignoring a dental emergency may lead to permanent damage, resulting in costly treatments. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can save you and your family from these risks and help in faster recovery. Here is a brief on how to handle some common dental emergencies.
Chipped, Cracked or Broken Tooth
While a minor tooth chip, especially if it doesn't hurt, may not need immediate professional attention, a severely chipped or cracked tooth is a dental emergency. If you or any family member suffers a chipped or cracked tooth, here’s how you must deal with the situation.
This is one of the most serious dental emergencies, which requires immediate professional care to save the dislodged tooth. If any of your family members suffer a knocked out tooth, here is what you can do until you get to the dentist.
A misaligned or loose tooth that has been partially dislodged from its position requires you to see the dentist immediately to prevent permanent damage. If you or any of your family members spot a partially dislodged tooth, take an emergency dental appointment immediately. While you get to the dentist, gently re-align the tooth with the neighboring teeth by applying minimal pressure. Use a cold compress on the outside of your mouth to alleviate pain and swelling if any.
While these are some of the situations, there are several other conditions that constitute a dental emergency. Damaged or lost crowns and fillings, broken or loose braces, abscess, soft tissue injuries are all dental emergencies. Because you cannot treat them at home, you must consult an emergency dental service in the event of such situations.
All of us have been guilty of poor oral health that eventually led to cavities at least once in our lives. Cavities are the most common dental problem faced by millions of people. It is caused when plaque accumulates in your mouth. The acidic nature of plaque tends to corrode the tooth enamel causing a cavity. Cavity symptoms vary depending on their extent. You may not know if you have a cavity when it first develops, however as it grows you may experience any of the following symptoms.
A cavity weakens the tooth. Corrosion of the protective tooth enamel exposes the tooth to harmful bacteria. If you experience a persistent toothache, it might be a sign of a developing cavity. The pain may occur on the surface level or deep inside the tooth, depending on the severity of the cavity. Moreover, if you experience pain while chewing, you might have a severe cavity. The tooth pain may be sharp or dull, either way it may be a sign you have a cavity.
A growing cavity can affect nerves in your teeth, exposing them to changes in temperatures. This causes teeth sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverages, making eating or drinking an unpleasant experience. If you experience a strong sensitivity, you must consult a dentist to get it checked for cavities.
Poor oral hygiene results in bacteria buildup in the mouth. The bacteria, combined with food particles and saliva, forms plaque. The sticky white substance, plaque, is normal unless it stays on your teeth for several days. The stuck up plaque hardens within days to form tartar, which then reacts with the bacteria to penetrate your teeth, forming a cavity. This process sometimes results in visible symptoms in the form of holes. If you confront discomfort or pain, check for holes and visit the dentist to get them treated.
Cavities may also appear as spots or stains on your teeth. An enlarged cavity may infect the tooth roots, which may appear as a stain on your teeth. Black, brown or white stains are often signs of a tooth cavity. If you sense a spot is sticky or soft, it may also be a symptom of growing cavity. While such stains can be natural ones, it is best to get it examined by a dentist.
Swelling of Gums
An enlarged cavity can make the root nerves sick or die, which results in the swelling of the gums. While it is a sign of cavity, it may not be painful. Moreover, cavities can cause gum irritation from a damaged nerve. Recurrent bleeding while brushing is also a sign of a deep cavity. If you spot a swelling in gums or recurrent gum bleeding, you must see a dentist immediately.
Cavities must not be left untreated as it can cause several dental issues, and may even result in loss of the tooth. Preventive measures such as good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular dental checkups reduce the risk of cavities. However, if you spot any of the symptoms, you must consult a dentist to known if you have a cavity and get it treated.
The importance of maintaining good oral hygiene has been taught to us since a young age. After all, healthy teeth and gums protect us from a variety of dental issues and allow us to have a flawless smile. Following a ritual of brushing twice and flossing once daily is the basic necessity for good oral health. While brushing is essential, flossing helps in removing plaque and other debris, which brushing alone might not be able to. Daily flossing also increases the longevity of your teeth, reduces the risk of gum problems, and rids you of bad breath. Even though you may be flossing daily for years, you would be surprised to know that many do it incorrectly. Learning how to floss is vital because incorrect flossing technique can lead to dental problems.
For maximum benefits implement this proper technique of flossing.
Firstly, break off 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around the middle finger of both hands. Leave 2-3 inches of floss to work with. Many people prefer flossing after brushing, however brushing your teeth after flossing will allow the fluoride from the toothpaste to reach between teeth and remove the debris left after flossing.
Hold the 2-3 inches of floss that you left with your thumb and forefingers of both your hands. Using your thumbs can be more helpful in flossing your upper teeth, and using your index fingers will help floss your bottom teeth easily. Do whatever is most comfortable for you.
It doesn’t matter which tooth you start with as long as you are flossing every tooth in the right way. Generally, people start with the middle area between the front two upper or bottom teeth. Once you have picked an area, hold the floss between your thumb and index fingers and slide in gently in an up and down motion between your teeth. Make sure to not do it aggressively and not snap the floss down into the gums.
Once the floss reaches the gumline, gently curve it in a ‘C’ shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and teeth in an up and down motion. This will help reach the contours of the tooth. Once you are done, gently move the floss back out the way it came.
Repeat the process between each tooth. Use the clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth. Don’t forget the backs of your rear molars. Bacteria and plaque often accumulate in the corners of your mouth. While it can be a little tricky to floss in there, you must not neglect it. Once you are done, rinse your mouth with water to help remove any stray plaque and food particles.
Learning exactly how to floss is vital for maintaining good oral health. It is recommended that you floss for at least two- three minutes once a day. Make sure you do not overdo flossing or you may damage your gums. Varieties of floss are available to choose from. Consult a dentist to suggest the best for you. A dentist will also help you with valuable dental hygiene tips to maintain oral health and a beautiful smile.