Tooth Tips for Later Life

Clear Signs That You May Need a Filling

Most people have some kind of problem with their teeth—whether it be discolouration, arrangement issues, cavities, or entire teeth missing. In fact, according to the ABC, a recent study has found that 90 per cent of Australian adults have at least some type of tooth decay! But don't use that as an excuse to give up on your teeth. The longer you leave a tooth to continue to decay, the bigger the discomfort, price to fix, and other side effects will get. But how can you tell when you have some tooth decay festering in your mouth? And what are some sign you may be in need of a new filling?

Chalky White or Dark Spots on Teeth

The first visible sign of tooth decay is the formation of a chalky white area on the surface of a tooth, an indication of demineralisation of the tooth's enamel; this is called a white spot lesion. This first stage is somewhat reversible through a process called remineralisation, but should be properly cleaned by a dentist regardless, in order to maximise the chances of said remineralisation, and to assess whether or not a filling is needed, as what can be seen by a patient is often only the tip of a much larger iceberg. However, if white spot lesions are left untreated, they will likely darken, eventually turning brown. Lesions in this state are still somewhat reversible, but less so than white spot lesions, and if they are remineralised, they will likely leave stains.

Tooth Pain or Sensitivity

As a lesion develops further from its initial phase, it will likely become more visually noticeable and painful or sensitive to exposure to cold, hot, acidic, or sugary substances along with exposure to pressure. Along with these symptoms, softness of the tooth itself or toothache are signs of permanently damaged enamel or dentin (the tissue underneath your enamel). Once a tooth reaches this stage, it should be seen by a dentist immediately, as it will almost certainly need some kind of filling.

Swelling in or Around the Mouth

Swelling down the neck, of the lymph nodes under the back of the jaw, in the mouth, or around it, are all signs of an infection. Dental infections are often sneakily hard to notice until they're dangerously developed. These symptoms of infection are signs that you should be assessed by a dentist as soon as possible, and perhaps receive a filling afterwards.