Teeth that are restored with large fillings are often the cause of dental emergencies as they have a high risk of breaking. Heavily filled teeth often have minimal tooth structure to support the fillings. Metal/amalgam fillings rely on mechanical retention to teeth and biting on hard and sticky foods can cause these fillings to dislodge.
Like broken teeth, pain can arise from a tooth that has lost a filling due to the exposure of the underlying tooth structure and pulp tissue (nerve). The longer the tissues are exposed then higher the chance of pain occurring requiring urgent dental treatment.
It is highly advisable that patients seek same day emergency dental appointments to restore their tooth if a filling has been lost to prevent further damage and given the tooth the best chance of recovery.
Restoring a broken tooth or a tooth that has lost a filling back to its original form can be done in a few ways:
1. Direct composite resin fillings (white fillings)
Are fillings that are chemically bonded to your tooth. These fillings are strong and are made to blend nicely with your tooth shape and colour. A composite filling can often be done in an emergency dental appointment setting.
2. Dental crowns
Are specifically made restorations that are fitted over your tooth. Dental crowns absorb and dissipate the forces that are applied to your tooth, serving to protect the remaining tooth structure. Being custom made to your mouth they are one of the best methods of ensuring broken teeth are restored to their right shape and form. Crowns have a long lifespan due to their strength and wear resistance.
If a significant portion of your tooth has broken off, a crown is highly recommended to restore your tooth to give it the best chance of survival and to minimise the risk of you dealing with another dental emergency when another part of the compromised tooth breaks.