July 10, 2024

How to Fix A Broken Tooth Filling

A broken tooth filling negatively impacts your oral health and requires immediate attention. Fillings are designed to restore the function and integrity of damaged teeth, so when they break, they leave the tooth vulnerable to further decay and damage. Continue reading to learn what it takes to fix a broken tooth filling and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Identifying a Broken Tooth Filling

A broken filling can manifest through several symptoms:

  • Sharp pain or sensitivity when chewing or biting
  • Noticeable gap or rough edge where the filling used to be
  • Sudden pain when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods
  • Feeling something hard or gritty in your mouth, which could be the filling material

Fillings can break due to various reasons, including:

  • Chewing hard foods or objects
  • Tooth grinding (bruxism)
  • Trauma to the mouth
  • Natural wear and tear over time

Ignoring a broken filling can lead to serious dental issues, increasing your risk of decay and infection in the exposed tooth, potential for tooth fracture, or pain and discomfort that can affect your daily activities.

Immediate Steps to Take

If you notice a broken filling, immediately rinse your mouth with warm salt water to clean the area, and avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the filling broke. Use dental wax or temporary filling material available at pharmacies to temporarily cover the exposed tooth. Additionally, avoid consuming extremely hot, cold, or sugary foods and beverages for the time being.

You can use over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or topical anesthetics to help manage pain. 

Scheduling a Dental Appointment

It is in your best interest to see a dentist as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Delaying treatment can lead to increased pain, infection, and more extensive dental procedures in the future. 

During your appointment, the dentist will conduct a thorough examination of the broken filling and the surrounding tooth structure. They may request X-rays to assess the extent of the damage and check for any underlying issues. Based on the examination and X-rays, the dentist will discuss their recommendations on the filling and tooth repair process.

Questions to Ask Your Dentist:

What options are available for repairing my filling?

What type of material will be used for the new filling?

How long will the procedure take, and what can I expect during recovery?

Professional Repair Options

The following are different types of materials that can be used in tooth fillings:

Amalgam: Durable and long-lasting, but more noticeable due to its metallic color.

Composite Resins: Tooth-colored and aesthetically pleasing, but may not last as long as amalgam.

Ceramic: Highly durable and tooth-colored, but more expensive.

To repair a broken filling, the area around the tooth is numbed to ensure your comfort. Next, debris and decay are removed from the affected area. The chosen filling material is then placed, shaped, and polished to restore the tooth’s function and appearance.

If your tooth can’t be refilled, a crown may be required if the tooth is too damaged to support a filling. An inlay or onlay is considered a partial crown, used for more extensive tooth repairs. In severe cases, the tooth may need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant or bridge.

Post-Treatment Care

Take all prescribed or over-the-counter pain relievers as directed by your dentist and avoid eating on the side of the repaired tooth for the first 24 hours. Opt for soft foods and chew gently to allow the filling to set properly.

Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily to remove plaque and prevent decay around the filling and use an antiseptic mouthwash to help keep the area clean.

Preventing Future Breakages

Regular dental visits allow your dentist to monitor the condition of fillings and detect problems early. Going to semi-annual cleanings allows them to remove plaque and tartar that can weaken fillings.

You can further prevent filling breakages by avoiding chewing on hard objects like ice or pens and limiting the amount of sticky candies and foods you eat. Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamins to strengthen teeth and stay hydrated to maintain saliva flow, which helps protect teeth.

Addressing a broken filling promptly is crucial to prevent further damage and maintain your oral health. Regular check-ups and proper care can extend the life of your fillings and ensure your smile remains healthy and functional. 

Don't wait until a small problem becomes a big one—schedule your appointment with Taylorview Dental today. Your healthy smile is our #1 priority!