Procedures,  Q&A

Can a Dentist Mess Up a Filling?

This article is a part of our Q&A series in which we give detailed answers to our readers' questions. Have a question? Don't hesitate and send it to us to get a detailed answer!

Dental fillings are a common procedure aimed at treating tooth decay or repairing damaged teeth. While it is a routine treatment, like any medical procedure, there is always the potential for complications or errors. This guide will explore the aspects of how a dentist could potentially make a mistake during the filling procedure, the signs of a poorly done filling, and what steps can be taken if you suspect that your filling was not done correctly.

What are Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings are used to restore the form and function of a tooth that has been damaged by decay or fracture. The dentist removes the decayed material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cavity with a filling material. This material can be made of various substances including composite resin, amalgam, or porcelain.

How Can a Dentist Mess Up a Filling?

  • Incorrect Filling Material: The dentist might use a filling material that is not suited to your specific case or that you have a sensitivity to.
  • Insufficient Cleaning: Before filling, the dentist must remove all decay. If this isn’t thoroughly done, decay can continue beneath the filling.
  • Improper Shaping: If the filling is not properly shaped, it can affect your bite and cause discomfort or pain.
  • Overfilling: If too much material is used, it can cause pressure on the tooth and result in pain.
  • Underfilling: Conversely, if not enough filling material is used, it might not adequately seal the tooth, allowing bacteria to enter.
  • Contamination: If the filling material gets contaminated with saliva or blood during the procedure, it might not set properly.

Signs of a Poorly Done Filling

  • Pain and Sensitivity: Mild sensitivity immediately after the procedure is normal, but if you experience prolonged pain or sensitivity to hot, cold, or pressure, it might be a sign of a poorly done filling.
  • Improper Bite: If your bite feels off or if you feel discomfort when biting down, this could be due to the filling not being shaped properly.
  • Swelling or Infection: If you notice swelling around the tooth or an abscess forming, this could be a sign of infection due to an improperly done filling.
  • Loose or Cracked Filling: If the filling feels loose or you notice cracking, it might not have been set properly.

What To Do If Your Filling Was Not Done Properly?

  • Monitor Symptoms: Keep an eye on any pain, sensitivity, or other symptoms. Note when they started and any specific triggers.
  • Consult Your Dentist: If you suspect there might be an issue with your filling, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Explain the symptoms you are experiencing.
  • Get a Second Opinion: If you are not satisfied with the response from your dentist, don’t hesitate to seek a second opinion.
  • Correction or Replacement: If it is determined that the filling was done improperly, you might need to have it corrected or replaced. This should be discussed with your dentist or another dental professional.

Bottom Line

While dental fillings are a common procedure, there is potential for mistakes to be made. It’s crucial for patients to be informed and vigilant in monitoring for any signs that something might be wrong with a filling. Communication with your dental health professional is key and don’t be afraid to speak up if you think there might be an issue with your filling.

This Q&A series article is complete and was published on July 21, 2023, and last updated on July 21, 2023.

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