What Causes Dental Fillings To Fall Out?

The average life span of a dental filling is about ten years. Unfortunately, not all fillings last as long as they should. Sometimes, fillings fall out without warning. If your filling has fallen out, don't panic. Book an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist can replace the filling. You and your dentist also need to determine why your dental filling fell out. Fillings fall out for many reasons, which this article will cover below.

Tooth decay

Fillings can't prevent tooth decay. In fact, tooth decay can occur under or around a dental filling. You can reduce the risk of this by eating less sugar—the favorite food of tooth decay-causing bacteria. If tooth decay damages the tooth structure that a filling rests on, the filling could fall out.

Bad habits

Bad habits like chewing on ice or pen lids can damage teeth. Teeth with fillings are especially susceptible to damage because the tooth structure under a filling is weakened. For instance, if you chew ice regularly, you could inadvertently break your tooth. This could cause your filling to fall out later. Whether you have dental fillings or not, try to protect your teeth by chewing gum, which stimulates saliva, instead of pens, fingernails, or ice.

Bruxism and teeth clenching

Some people clench their teeth during activities such as weightlifting. Stress may also cause teeth clenching. But clenching your teeth often could damage your fillings and cause them to fall out.

Bruxism occurs when you sleep and is also called nighttime grinding. Bruxism is worse than teeth clenching while awake because you have no control over how hard you clench and grind your teeth when you sleep. If you are stressed or have bite issues, such as crooked teeth, you might grind your teeth at night. This can damage your teeth and cause fillings to fall out.

Hard foods

Filled teeth are not as durable as fully intact teeth. This fact means that you need to be careful when chewing hard foods such as raw carrots or hard candy. Biting down on a hard or crunchy piece of food can dislodge a filling or break the tooth structure that supports a filling.

Debonded filling

Occasionally, the bonding that adheres a filling to the tooth structure fails. This can happen when a chemical reaction occurs during the placement process. This reaction weakens the bond between a tooth and its filling. In this case, the filling may fall out soon after placement.

If your filling has fallen out, you may experience pain and sensitivity. If you still have the filling, take it to your next dental appointment so your dentist can replace it. As long as your tooth doesn't have any decay or damage, your dentist can replace the filling.

Contact your dentist to learn more.