Fillings replace the part of a tooth damaged by tooth decay. If you’ve had a cavity, you’ve probably had a dentist fill it. But with this foreign substance put into your teeth, does that make them weaker? What if your teeth start hurting around the filling? Some fillings contain small amounts of mercury; can they cause mercury toxicity? Are fillings even safe?
Here’s what you need to know about fillings and your teeth.
What Are Fillings?
Fillings are materials that your dentist uses to fill your teeth after taking out a damaged portion or in order to repair a broken or worn down tooth. When you have a cavity, a dentist will often remove the decayed part of your tooth and then use a filling to fill it in, so that your tooth stays intact and usable and strong. They are an effective method of fixing damaged teeth, either because of cracks, cavities, or some other reason that would require an area of it to be replaced.
What Are Fillings Made Of?
There are a multitude of materials that fillings can be formed out of. You can have fillings that are made of gold, of amalgam (silver), of porcelain, or of composite resin materials. The one that creates the most sense of concern is the amalgam filling, because they have a very small amount of mercury.
Can Fillings Be Toxic?
Although amalgam fillings do contain small amounts of mercury, there is no need to worry about it posing any danger to your health. Because of the mercury, some people worry about toxicity and wonder if they should have them replaced. In reality, you consume more mercury from eating seafood than you do from having an amalgam filling in your tooth.
It is not toxic, and there is no need to be alarmed over the small amount of mercury in them. Especially as the centuries have passed and scientists have learned more, the amount of mercury in fillings has gone further and further down. Amalgam fillings are perfectly safe.
Do Fillings Weaken Your Teeth?
Some people may fear that because fillings are a substance placed into your tooth, that fillings can weaken your tooth or cause it to crack. A filling that is old or was inadequately placed can indeed cause these problems, however, they are avoided through routine check-ups and going to an experienced dentist. During your check-ups, your dentist will check your fillings to see if they are wearing away. If they are, your dentist will be able to either replace it or use a crown, depending on how much tooth structure there is.
It’s important to see your dentist regularly, especially if you have fillings, so that they can ensure they are in good condition and keep them that way. Generally, though, fillings are quite strong, made to keep your tooth able to do all it normally does.
What If Your Tooth Hurts Around A Filling?
Sometimes, you may experience pain after a filling and wonder if it is because of it. The answer is: it depends. Typically, pain around a filling is not because of the filling itself, but an indicator of another problem.
If you have a deep toothache, this likely means that the decay went deep, and you should tell your dentist so that they can analyze it, as you may need a root canal.
If it hurts when you bite, this could be because your filling needs to be reshaped. In this case, the dentist would simply reshape it. If you still experience pain after biting, the problem likely isn’t the filling, but deeper in the tooth itself.
There are several other ways that pain can manifest around a filling. You should always tell your dentist if you are experiencing oral pain, so that they can find the problem and address it. They can tell you if the pain is simply sensitivity from a new filling that will go away within a few days or if it is something not related to the filling at all that needs more attention.
So, Are Fillings Even Safe?
Yes, fillings are safe. Dentists would not use them to repair damaged teeth if they were not. As with every part of your mouth, they need check-ins to ensure they stay in good condition. Fillings protect you from decay and fix problems that could have turned serious. They are a safe and effective method of treatment for teeth that need to have parts replaced.
Want To Avoid Having To Get A Filling?
Practicing good dental hygiene is the best preventative measure against cavities. If you want to avoid having to get a filling, the best way is to brush your teeth twice a day, floss, and go to your regular dental check-ups. If you do have to get a filling, though, there is nothing to fear. Fillings help protect and repair your teeth from damage. If you need a filling, you need to get it, in order to prevent further tooth decay and worsened problems down the line. They are there to help you, not hurt you.
Do You Need To Schedule A Dental Exam?
Part of preventing cavities is regular dental exams. Here at Leavitt Dentistry, we understand the importance of good dental hygiene, and want to help you prevent cavities. If you have cavities, there’s no need to worry, we can fill them and ensure the job is done well. If you would like to schedule an appointment or have any questions about any of our dental services, please feel free to contact us at Leavitt Dentistry today.