How to Tell if a Cavity was Filled Wrong

Cavities are arguably the most common dental problem in the United States, with virtually everyone developing at least one during their lifetime. Cavities are areas of decay that develop on our teeth, caused by plaque acids. These eat into the outer enamel of our teeth, eroding it so that the middle, and eventually center, of the affected tooth is damaged. When this happens, the nerves and roots become impaired, causing pain and other problems.

Cavities are typically treated by drilling out any decayed material and filling the area with either amalgam or composite resin. Amalgam is the cheapest material that can be used, but it is dark grey in color, making it fairly obvious. An increasing number of patients are choosing fillings made from composite as it is tooth-colored and therefore, virtually invisible.

While hundreds if not thousands of cavity fillings are performed across the United States every day, and the majority of procedures are perfect, there are instances in which a patient finds that their cavity filling has not gone to plan.

Common cavity filling problems and how to identify them

Despite their simplicity, there are a number of different things that can go wrong with a cavity filling. In most instances, any of the following are caused by substandard dental care.

Rough fillings

While filling material is different than natural enamel and may feel unusual until you get used to it, it shouldn’t feel rough or sharp when you touch it with either your finger or tongue. Once the filling material is placed, your dentist will use burs to finish and polish all tooth surfaces, including that which contains your failing. However, if your filling feels rough more than 48 hours after placement, it may mean that it requires further polishing.

Decay remains trapped below the filling

Drilling out the decay that causes the cavity is essential to stop it from spreading further even after the filling has been placed. A good dentist will take care to ensure that all areas of decay have been removed and the underlying structure is healthy before the filling material is used. If any decay remains underneath the filling, it is usually a result of negligence and it could cause further damage to your tooth.

Improper shape/anatomy of the filling

Dental bacteria will accumulate anywhere that they are given chance to, particularly in those hard-to-reach areas such as overhangs, small holes and edges of fillings. If the filling you have received is the wrong shape, it could provide even more places for bacteria to congregate and start destroying your teeth, leading to even more dental problems.

It may be difficult for you to tell if your filling is an improper shape and therefore defective, but an x-ray will clearly show any abnormalities that need to be addressed and you can request your dentist to perform one and share the results with you.

Wrong material used

If you have requested a white filling and have been given an amalgam variety, this is an error solely on the part of your dentist. It can have two effects. Not only is amalgam dark grey and very distinctive in your mouth, a small number of patients are actually allergic to this type of filling. Having an amalgam filling when you have an intolerance to them can caused skin rashes and itching, and you will need to revisit your dentist’s office to have the filling removed and replaced.

​​​​​​​When you have spent time and money on getting a dental filling, suffering from a problem with it can be very frustrating, not to mention painful. If you have had a cavity filling that you feel has been done improperly, your dentist may be liable for failure to fulfill their duty of care to you. Our experienced team of dental lawyers would be delighted to assess the validity of your case, and if instructed, pursue a claim for the compensation that you are entitled.

Please contact Arizona Dental Law Group today to request a free case evaluation at 602-833-4200.