Modern dental restorations are designed to be long-lasting. With modern materials and techniques, they can easily last for decades, and some of them, such as dental implants, can last a lifetime. However, sometimes your restoration will need to be replaced. But how do you know when to consider replacing a dental restoration?
Here are some signs that your dental restoration might need to be looked at by a dentist. These may not be able to wait until your next checkup.
Dental restorations should be tightly bonded to your natural teeth. If they start to come loose, it can be a sign that there’s problems underneath.
First of all, there shouldn’t be much room for a restoration to move on your tooth. The restoration should fit your tooth precisely. If there is either inherently room between the restoration and the tooth or if something has created room there, that’s a cause for concern.
Room under a restoration might be created by oral bacteria that have found their way into the space. They can generate acid that breaks down the tooth structure, creating cavities.
Cracked or Worn
Ideally, a tooth restoration should present a smooth surface that is hard for food and oral bacteria to cling to. They should come right off most of the time so that plaque doesn’t build up very much between brushings. And, ideally, you shouldn’t develop very much tartar on or around restored teeth.
But if a restoration wears down, becomes scratched, or cracked, it can create a trap for food particles and shelter for oral bacteria. Although bacteria can’t damage the restoration itself, anything that speeds up the accumulation of oral bacteria can be harmful to your oral health.
Even more serious is a crack or hole in the restoration. This can happen even with a restoration that is otherwise securely bonded to the tooth. However, once the restoration is cracked, it creates space for oral bacteria to infiltrate and attack the tooth.
Any time a restoration develops cracks or significant wear, it needs attention to prevent damage to the tooth the restoration is supposed to protect.
Your Tooth Hurts
It’s normal for a tooth to be sore for a few days after you get a restoration placed. The process of preparing a tooth and placing a crown can irritate the tooth pulp–the living part of the tooth–which makes it swell. This puts painful pressure on the nerve in the tooth.
However, once that initial swelling goes down, your tooth should be safe and comfortable under the restoration. Some people will experience sensitivity to temperature or pressure, usually related to metal crowns, but that is a pattern you’ll get used to.
What signals a problem is when your tooth suddenly starts hurting more than before. Maybe the pattern changes: it used to be sensitive to temperature but not pressure, and now it’s sensitive to both. Or maybe the tooth starts to hurt spontaneously. This could be a sign that something is wrong under the restoration and should be looked at.
Changes in Gums around Tooth
Ideally, your dental restoration should be very biocompatible. Your gums should rest up against your dental crown or veneer the way it does against your natural teeth. The gums should be pink and healthy, too.
However, sometimes a problem with the restoration might impact your gums. Your gums might turn red and inflamed (swollen). They might start to bleed. They could recede from the restoration. In very serious situations, you might see a pimple-like sore on your gums below the restored tooth.
In some cases, your gums might be responding to materials in the crown, which is common in people who are allergic to metals used in some crowns. Other times, the response of your gums shows that oral bacteria are building up in the area. The restoration might have a slight ridge that traps food debris and oral bacteria. Or perhaps decay is developing under the restoration. In some cases, decay might have progressed to the living pulp chamber of the tooth. Usually, this will make the tooth hurt, but it doesn’t always.
The absence of pain should not be taken as a sign that nothing’s wrong.
Do You Need a Dentist in Scripps Ranch?
If you have a restoration that needs attention, then it’s time to schedule a consultation with a dentist. If you are looking for a dentist in Scripps Ranch, please call (858) 271-1010 today for an appointment with Dr. Ramin Goshtasbi (“Dr. G” to his patients) at Oasis Dental Arts.