You’re probably aware that your bones have just the slightest bit of flexibility to them. If they didn’t you would probably have broken a few more by this point in your life! That includes your teeth – they have to flex just a bit to properly disburse the forces and stresses of chewing food, clenching, and grinding your teeth.
But put a filling in the middle of that mix and you change the whole game. Metal amalgam fillings, by far the most common kind, are far more dense than the bone of your teeth, and they don’t bend or flex like them either. At Anderson Dental Care we specialize in treating patients with injuries that might result from the density difference of metal fillings, of which cracked teeth is by far one of the most common!
Metal Fillings: What’s The Concern?
That flexibility in your teeth, even the smallest bit, is an essential part of keeping them intact and healthy. While amalgam fillings do a good job at protecting and restoring your teeth from a cavity it seems no one thought of the need for some give when they designed them!
Over time the continued forces exerted on your teeth can lead to cracked tooth syndrome, a condition that can be incredibly painful, incredibly destructive, and incredibly hard to diagnose. The cracks in your teeth will likely be so small they can’t be seen, and with fillings are often inside of your teeth to boot.
Identifying Cracked Tooth Syndrome
There are a lot of reasons for a toothache, including cavities, abscesses, gum disease, an injury, and cracked teeth. Because the fractures caused by cracked tooth syndrome are so small we may not catch the injury the first time.
Usually suspicion is raised fairly quickly if you have a toothache or sore jaw without any other signs of decay, gum disease, or infection. We can dial our suspicions in even closer if we see that your pain is coming from a tooth with an old metal filling!
Once we identify where the pain is coming from we can start looking for the source of the injury. In this case it’s probably a really tiny crack that’s located somewhere near your filling.
Treating Cracked Tooth Syndrome
Your treatment will depend on the level of damage to your tooth, the size of the filling in it, and any other problems the crack might cause. In many cases we can treat the pain by simply removing the metal filling and replacing it with a new tooth-colored composite filling.
If the damage to your tooth is too great, the filling is too large, or there are other problems like additional decay we’ll need to treat your tooth with a crown. These caps for your teeth involve removing the damaged portions of your tooth along with the filling. Once reduced in size we’ll design a false tooth that is permanently attached to the remaining healthy portion, protecting it from harm and helping it maintain its function.
Tooth Colored Fillings: A Better Bet
When it comes to replacing old fillings and placing new ones we definitely prefer to use dental composite fillings. Not only do they match your teeth completely, but they’re also designed to closely mimic the function of your natural teeth.
Dental composite is made from a blend of glass and plastic that has the same density as the natural portions of your teeth, allowing it to flex and give along with your teeth. This prevents injury, results in less problems later on, and eventually leads to a filling that is simply healthier.
Composite fillings also bond directly to your teeth, meaning they can be made smaller and without the need for messy dental cement. Since there’s no cement to wear off over time your composite filling will stay tightly sealed to your tooth for longer, making it safer and healthier.
Worried About An Old Filling Or A Toothache?
Fillings that are approaching the decade mark need to be evaluated for damage, cement loss, and potentially cracked teeth. If you’re experiencing jaw pain without any signs of trauma, infection, or tooth decay there’s also a good possibility there’s a crack somewhere – you don’t need to have a filling to end up with cracked tooth syndrome!
Make an appointment to see us right away – you can reach our Cincinnati office at (513) 231-7755! You can also schedule an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!