YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO LEARN that dental fillings don’t last forever! While they are extremely durable and can last years, there will come a time when they will have to be replaced.
Your Fillings Get Checked At Regular Dental Visits
A question we frequently get asked in our practice is if a person can get braces if they have fillings. The answer is, “Yes!” We do recommend, however, that a patient get cavities filled before getting braces since it can be challenging to have done during orthodontic treatment.
Now you may be wondering, “If fillings don’t last a lifetime, then how long DO they last?” That depends on a number of factors, such as the type of procedure performed, the size or area being treated or replaced, the kind of materials used for the filling and the patient’s level of oral hygiene and care.
At your biannual dental appointment, your general dentist will check your fillings and make sure they are still intact. They will look for early signs of wear and tear so they can replace a dental restoration before it breaks, loses its effectiveness or falls out on its own. They also take x-rays to make sure there is no decay under or around a filling, which can cause it to come loose.
Here For You In An Emergency
Despite your best efforts, a filling may crack or fall out unexpectedly. This is unlikely to occur if you visit your dentist regularly, however accidents can happen. Over time, dental fillings can be weakened by:
- Tooth decay
- Frequent jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Chewing on hard items or foods
- Injury or trauma, such as those sustained during sports activities
- Time; no filling lasts forever no matter how well kept
Although the following video discusses tooth loss, the same principals apply for a lost filling!
If you ever have a filling fall out just remember, don’t panic and don’t wait. Even if it falls out after hours, call your dentist immediately–most have 24-hour emergency services set in place. In the meantime, keep your filling if you can but don’t try to push it back into place. Make sure to keep the affected area clean and debris-free.
If you don’t experience any pain after losing a filling, it’s still important to get it treated as soon as possible. Not seeking immediate care could result in pain, discomfort and even tooth loss.
Keep Your Smile Healthy
Regular dental visits are imperative to maintaining a healthy smile, especially when you have braces. With that being said, most dentists understand that not every dental emergency happens during normal business hours.
Do you have any questions about dental fillings and your orthodontic treatment? Let us know! Your health and comfort is our number one priority.