Well-placed dental restorations can last for a very long time, but even the best restorations won’t last forever. Sometimes when they fail, the results can be catastrophic, requiring emergency attention, and affecting the tooth itself, your health, and your wellbeing.
But being aware of the warning signs that failure is coming can help us replace restorations before they become an emergency. Here are some things to look out for.
Tooth pain is always a sign that something’s wrong. A properly placed restoration shouldn’t hurt and shouldn’t be more sensitive than natural teeth to heat, cold, or pressure. This may be symptomatic of metal restorations or it may be a serious warning sign. If your restoration becomes sensitive to any of these factors, then it’s time to talk to your dentist.
Ideally, we’ll detect a failing restoration before it gets to this stage.
Changes in Bite
A restoration should be permanently fixed to your tooth, and your bite should be stable. If your bite seems to have changed, it could be because teeth have moved. Or it could be because your restoration has shifted or is shifting.
If you feel like your bite has changed, it’s a good idea to contact your dentist, especially if the changes seem to involve a tooth that’s been restored.
Discoloration of Restoration or Tooth
Your restoration should be resistant to staining. If it seems to be changing color, it’s a sign that something’s wrong. Perhaps the surface of the restoration has been scratched or the restoration is cracked, allowing staining material to penetrate into the restoration.
However, it could also be that the color change is related to color changes in the tooth under the restoration. This could be caused by material leaking from old silver fillings, tooth decay, or even an infected tooth.
Visible Pits, Chips, or Cracks
If you see damage to the restoration, you might be tempted to dismiss it as a cosmetic problem. It is a cosmetic problem, but it’s also a sign that your restoration could be failing. Pitting of your restoration shows it’s under chemical attack, which can lead to dissolution or cracking of the restoration. This is most commonly seen in metal restorations.
Chips and cracks show the integrity of your restoration has been compromised. This could allow food and bacteria to penetrate into your tooth, which can lead to further damage to your teeth and gums.
Chronic Bad Taste or Bad Breath
Sometimes you won’t see the warning signs, but you might smell or taste them. If food and oral bacteria are getting trapped alongside or in a restoration. This can accelerate tooth decay and can lead to infections of teeth and gums.
These infections could lead to the loss of teeth as well as cause negative impacts to your overall health.
New, Attractive, Long-Lasting Restorations
If you’re seeing signs that your old restorations might be failing, now’s the time to replace them with beautiful, functional new ones.