A fractured, ditched or dislodged filling that is broken or lost may cause discomfort or sharp pain due to jagged edges. There can be aesthetical concerns if the filling is in a visible area.
Patients need to be aware of the sharp edges and ensure their tongue does not constantly apply pressure around that area, as it can cause cuts to the tongue. However in some cases the result of the loss of a filling can cause irritation to the side of the cheek and potentially lead to an ulcer.
Sharp edges can easily be dealt with by leveling the filling or tooth edges from your local dentist during the emergency appointment. Hypersensitivity issues may also arise, short sharp pain caused by exposed underlying dentine, after the deterioration of the filling material.
Reasons for the deterioration of a restoration vary in different cases, the cause may be underlying caries or it could be occlusal trauma, caused from natural dentition during mastication. The longevity of restorative materials could also be a factor; the survival rates of amalgam are usually 10–15 years, composite 7 years, while gold and ceramic fillings have over a 20-year longevity.
During the emergency appointment the dentist will need to take a set of radiographs to assess for any underlying caries, bone loss or possible abscess. The clinical examination will detect the reasons behind the failure of the restoration.
Upon treatment the dentist will provide options on the tooth’s prognosis, these may include a new restoration, extraction, root canal or placement of a crown. The tooth prognosis includes the tooth’s vitality and restorability.