Caring on Dental Fillings

By: Sharon Bell

Now that your decayed tooth has been cleaned and filled, how do you take care of it? You don't need a degree in dentistry to look after dental fillings. All it takes is common sense.

To maintain your fillings, simply follow good oral hygiene practices. Visit your dentist regularly, preferably once every six months, brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride-containing toothpaste, and floss at least once daily.

If you notice anything different about your dental fillings, contact your dentist immediately. While filling a tooth is an easy task for an experienced dentist, some inevitable problems may arise in the process.

One of these is pain and sensitivity. This normally happens in the first few weeks after a filling is placed. The filled tooth may react to sweet foods, pressure, air, or temperature. Usually, this disappears and no medication is required. If not, tell your dentist.

"Contact your dentist if the sensitivity does not subside within 2 to 4 weeks or if your tooth is extremely sensitive. He or she may recommend you use a desensitizing toothpaste, may apply a desensitizing agent to the tooth, or possibly suggest a root canal procedure," according to the editors of WebMD.Com and the Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.

If biting is painful, this may be caused by the filling that needs to be reshaped. Pain may also be due to two different metal surfaces that touch. This results when an amalgam filling touches a gold filling. No treatment is necessary in this case since the pain disappears on its own with time.

"Sometimes people experience what is known as referred pain -- pain or sensitivity in other teeth besides the one that received the filling. With this particular pain, there is likely nothing wrong with your teeth. The filled tooth is simply passing along 'pain signals' it's receiving to other teeth. This pain should decrease on its own over 1 to 2 weeks," added WebMD.Com and the Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.

The act of chewing, grinding and clenching teeth can likewise cause dental fillings to wear away, chip or crack. Sometimes this is discovered during a routine dental checkup. Untreated, this can cause trouble later.

"If the seal between the tooth enamel and the filling breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the filling. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Decay that is left untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscessed tooth," explained WebMd.Com and the Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.

All this can be avoided if you pay more attention to your teeth. It may sound corny but the old adage still rings true - be true to your teeth and they will never be false to you!

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