Maintaining the health and longevity of your dental fillings is a pivotal aspect of overall oral well-being. Dental fillings, once placed, become a part of your teeth structure and require care similar to natural teeth. Neglecting this could lead to an array of dental complications, shortening the lifespan of your fillings and leading to unnecessary additional treatment.
This blog post aims to provide you with practical and easy-to-follow tips to care for your dental fillings, ensuring they offer long-lasting results for your pearly whites. Let’s delve into these helpful approaches.
Brushing and flossing – the importance of maintaining a daily routine
Establishing and maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine is the cornerstone for the longevity of your dental fillings. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is essential for removing plaque build-up and preventing tooth decay.
It’s equally important not to neglect the spaces between your teeth, where food debris can hide and foster bacteria.
Regular flossing can help eliminate these hidden particles and further protect your fillings from potential damage. Consider using interdental brushes or water flossers if you find traditional floss difficult to handle.
Lastly, remember to replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles start to fray, ensuring the effectiveness of your brushing.
When to replace your dental filling – what to look for
Even the most durable fillings don’t last forever. While some may last for a decade or more, others may need replacement sooner. It’s essential to understand the signs that indicate your filling might need to be replaced.
One key sign is experiencing increased sensitivity or discomfort in the filled tooth when you bite down or consume hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. This may be a sign that the filling has worn down or cracked, exposing the sensitive underlying tooth layer.
Another sign is the feeling of a rough or jagged edge when you run your tongue across the filling. This suggests that the filling may have chipped or worn down. Additionally, any visible cracks, chips, or wear when looking in the mirror are clear indicators that it’s time to see your dentist for a possible filling replacement.
Regular dental check-ups are integral to keeping an eye on your fillings and overall oral health. Your dentist can use annual or bi-annual visits to spot any potential issues early on, ensuring that your fillings and teeth are always in the best possible condition.
Choosing the right material for your dental filling
When it comes to dental fillings, there are several materials available, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Your dentist will likely recommend a material based on factors such as the location and size of the cavity, your cosmetic preferences, and any allergies you may have.
Amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, are a durable and cost-effective choice. They can withstand heavy chewing forces and are often used for molars in the back of the mouth. However, their silver colour can be more noticeable than other options.
Composite fillings, made from a tooth-coloured resin, blend in with your natural tooth colour for a more aesthetic finish. They bond directly to the tooth, providing further support to the tooth structure. While they may not be as long-lasting as amalgam fillings, they are a popular choice for those who prefer a natural-looking option.
Porcelain fillings, or inlays/onlays, are custom-made in a laboratory and then bonded to the tooth. They match the tooth colour and resist staining. Their cost is similar to gold fillings.
Gold fillings, made from gold cast in a laboratory, are durable and can last up to 15 years or more. They’re well tolerated by gum tissues and are considered by many to be the best filling material. However, they’re the most expensive option and require multiple visits to place.
Your dentist can help you determine which material is best suited for your individual needs and preferences. Regular check-ups and good oral hygiene practices will help ensure the longevity of your fillings, regardless of the material chosen.
Avoid hard foods and drinks that can wear down fillings faster
Frequently consuming hard foods and drinks can significantly shorten the lifespan of your dental fillings. Hard foods like lollies, ice, or nuts can apply excessive pressure on the fillings, causing them to fracture or become worn out more quickly.
Similarly, acidic drinks, such as sodas and fruit juices, can erode the filling material over time, weakening its structure and effectiveness.
It’s recommended that individuals with dental fillings maintain a balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, to ensure the longevity of their restorations.
Regular dental check-ups can also help monitor the condition of fillings and timely identify any signs of wear or damage.
Make regular appointments with your dentist to check on your fillings
Ensuring the longevity of your dental fillings extends beyond proper oral hygiene and diet; regular appointments with your dentist are equally essential. During these check-ups, your dentist will evaluate the condition of your fillings, identifying signs of wear, damage, or potential leakage. They can spot cracks or gaps between the filling and tooth that could allow bacteria to seep in, leading to further decay.
Moreover, your dentist can assess whether your bite is correctly aligned, a crucial factor as misalignment can exert undue pressure on your fillings, causing them to crack or wear prematurely. Regular dental appointments also provide an opportunity for dentists to use professional tools to clean areas around fillings that are difficult to reach through regular brushing and flossing. By scheduling regular dental appointments, you can ensure that your fillings continue to serve their protective function effectively.
What to do if you experience any pain or discomfort after getting a new filling
If you experience any sort of pain or discomfort after receiving a new dental filling, it’s important not to panic. Mild sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures is a common reaction after a filling procedure and usually subsides within a few weeks. However, if the discomfort persists, it could be a sign that the filling is interfering with your bite. In such cases, you should contact your dentist promptly.
In the event of severe pain or pressure that emerges days or weeks after the procedure, this could indicate a more serious issue such as a bacterial infection or damage to the nerves of the tooth, known as pulpitis. This condition requires immediate attention from your dentist or endodontist to prevent further complications.
Remember, any persistent pain following a dental procedure is not normal and should be promptly reported to your dentist. Regular communication with your dental provider can not only alleviate the discomfort but also prevent potential complications, ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of your dental fillings.
All in all, with just a few simple steps, you can maintain the life of your dental fillings. Take time to review what activities and foods should be avoided, and get regular check-ups with your dentist. Remember to brush and floss daily for added protection against any bacteria or plaque build-up. It is also best practice to replace your filling if it becomes loose or cracked over time.
By taking charge of your dental health care now, you can save yourself future trips to the dentist’s office caused by potential dental issues later on.
In fact, why wait? Take action now and book an appointment with Hamilton Dental Centre today for more advice regarding how to look after your teeth and dental fillings – it will leave you feeling confident in sharing a beautiful smile!