One of the first dental procedures people learn about as children is the use of fillings to repair cavities. When patients suffer from small bits of decay (known as caries), a white-colored filling can repair the appearance of their smile and prevent bacteria from hiding in a cavity. But while the tooth may be sensitive immediately after the decayed material is removed, prolonged pain is not normal and is a sign that patients should come in for an examination.
When a filling is first placed, it may be shaped badly and prevent the patient from closing their jaws together. It also may not be large enough to fill in the gap. These are both rare events but need to be fixed immediately. More commonly, the filling becomes painful years after it was placed due to the normal wear and tear of chewing having worn out the seal holding it in place. Fillings are not permanent solutions; they usually last for about ten years. Of course, trauma could cause a filling to come loose sooner. When the area around a filling is painful, it is probably because bacteria has entered through the cracks in the seal and are causing more decay. The sooner an old filling is replaced, the less likely it is that a larger restoration will be necessary.
Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos operate All Coast Dental at 2180 Garnet Ave, Suite 1-K, Pacific Beach, California, 92109. To schedule an appointment, call 858-270-4904 or visit AllCoastDental.net and fill out a contact sheet.