Fillings can break, and more often, weak bits of tooth around the fillings can break. More often than not – these leave you with a sharp edge, and very little other pain.
Of course the answer to the question: Should I Call My Dentist? is ‘yes.’ To cut a long rambling blog short, if you see your dentist early, then you can understand the extent of the damage, and treat it soon, so that it involves less treatment, and less cost!
So What Can Happen When A Tooth or Filling Breaks?
Im going to talk about teeth breaking from now on, as this is much more common than fillings breaking.
The most common situation is when someone has a big silver/black filling, it lasts many years, then a little corner of the tooth cracks off.
So in this picture, what looks like the lower left corner of this tooth has broken off.
The chances are you were having a soft bit of bread, and thought there was a bit of stone in the bread, and soon realised that it was a bit of your tooth!
Why did this happen?
Crack Propagation or leaking filling.
Crack propagation is when a crack started in an area which was susceptible, and eventually, this crack went all the way through the tooth. Just like if you have a chip in the windscreen of a car, it can suddenly crack all the way through.
Metal fillings do not stick to tooth, and this leaves a tiny gap that can cause a crack.
White fillings should be bonded to the tooth, and this means there is less chance of developing a crack. The down side of this filling is, that if it is not done properly, then the bond can break and leave you no better off than if you had a black filling.
A leaking filling can let the inside of the tooth decay, and as a result, it weakens the tooth, eventually causing it to break.
In both of these situations, you will probably not have a lot of pain, the tooth may be sensitive to hot or cold and you may have a sharp edge – The sharp edge will (probably) go by itself.
There is no way to know if there is decay in the tooth that broke. Decay is like rot, and if its not fixed, it will get worse, and the tooth will need further treatment like a root treatment and a crown (rather than another filling). If you have it checked out early, then the problem can be dealt with while it is small, less costly and less painful!
So in answer to should you see your dentist if your filling breaks, the answer is Yes: if you care about the health of your mouth, and are forward sighted and organised enough to address small problems, before the turn into large and expensive problems!