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Teeth question, old fillings fine but teeth breaking away from them, what to do?
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# 1
BlondeHeadOn
Old 06-07-2007, 11:38 AM
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Default Teeth question, old fillings fine but teeth breaking away from them, what to do?

About 30 years ago when I was 17 I had a marathon teeth filling session with my local dentist (while it was still free on NHS ). I think he must have been paid by the weight of filling, because he filled virtually all my upper and lower back teeth with enormous fillings! (I don't remember my teeth being that bad, but what do I know).

Fast forward to today, and I keep having problems with bits of the teeth around the fillings breaking off , even though the fillings are as solid as a rock. I have had to go to the dentists 4 times in the past couple of years, for 3 teeth to be repaired. So far he has been drilling out the old fillings and re-filling, but with the last one he said that the to be careful not to chew on anything too hard on that side and that a crown might be better.

I am now at the point where I feel that I am ancient and my teeth are crumbling away , and am only eating soft food in case more teeth crumble. And lo! I have to go back to the dentist next week because another one has started to crack, on the other side this time...

I am thinking of just asking for the offending teeth to be crowned, as I don't want to spend the rest of my life eating pappy food (!), but will this solve the problem? I also know that this is going to be expensive - I have one crown already (done a few years ago) which cost an arm and a leg because he had to put a gold crown in (I cracked everything else he tried!)

Sorry for the rambling post, but I guess my questions are:
1. Does anyone else in the world have this problem, or should I be very worried about being a crumbley-mouthed oddity?
2. Should I just go for having the teeth crowned and sod the expense?
3. Will this actually enable me to eat again with confidence?
4. Are there any other options or things I should be doing?

Incidentally all my other teeth seem to be fine, including my crowned one - it's just these ones with old fillings that are causing the problem. And my dentist is very good, even though I still hate going as I am a bit phobic!

Any help gratefully accepted.....

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# 2
JennyW
Old 06-07-2007, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlondeHeadOn View Post
So far he has been drilling out the old fillings and re-filling, but with the last one he said that the to be careful not to chew on anything too hard on that side and that a crown might be better.


I personally would seek the advice of another dentist. Your dentist really isn't addressing the problem by re-doing your fillings each time is he?

If crowns are the only way to go then I would pay to get it done. You're going to need your teeth for a long time to come
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# 3
BlondeHeadOn
Old 06-07-2007, 12:32 PM
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Er - no, he gave me the option, and he has only re-filled each tooth once - and all of those fillings have held okay. It's just that I have a lot of teeth with the old fillings in, which all seem to be cracking at the moment. (I know I said 4 fillings in 3 teeth, but one of them he tried to re-build first as not much tooth had chipped off - then he re-filled when that didn't work.)

I have become very nervous about chewing because of the previous breaks, not because my dentist's work is in any way suspect.

My main question is: are crowns the right way to go, and has anybody else had this problem and has it been fixed by having crowns or caused more problems later on? I don't want to shell out a fortune for crowns if other people have found them problematic anyway.
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# 4
sandy2
Old 06-07-2007, 12:55 PM
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Yes, I had large fillings in my back teeth when I was younger, much younger....Yes each time they have been refilled they fillings have got larger and left less original tooth. after a period of time the original tooth cracks and breaks away.... think about a bag of cement which has got damp, the cement hardens but the paper holding the cement in isn't that strong.
One of my teeth has been repaired using small pins (dentist called it scaffolding) and the tooth built up around them, so now more filling than tooth. This has been fine now for 20plus years. My second tooth broke, leaving the filling in place. The dentist here in Spain tried to build the tooth back without any pins, but after a few weeks this broke off again so suggested a root canal leading to a crown. This was fine for a while but dentist left so I went to another one. She has built the tooth up twice now but if it breaks again then it will have to be a crown. Here in Spain they do not use amalgam fillings only the white stuff which I don't think is as strong.
My friend also has had the same trouble and is considering an implant.
I'm sure as soon as Toothsmith sees your post something else will be added
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# 5
BlondeHeadOn
Old 06-07-2007, 1:06 PM
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That's useful to know, thank you.

To clarify, my teeth have only been filled twice, once 30 years ago when I was 17 - and they lasted up until 2 years ago with no problems at all so I guess I can't complain too much about that! Then the actual teeth around the fillings started to chip away - my dentist says that this is normal with large fillings as the teeth wear over time (in this case 30 years).

So we are not taking constant filling and re-filling here - just twice for each affected tooth. It is more that I am now nervous about putting pressure on these teeth in case they start to break away again - maybe I am being a bit neurotic about it! My dentist has said that eventually I will probably have to have crowns, but I want to know whether it is worth cutting my losses and just asking for them to be crowned now? Or will this be more trouble than it's worth?

Sorry for any confusion!

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# 6
sandy2
Old 06-07-2007, 1:12 PM
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I must admit I don't crunch away or eat boiled sweets on the side of my mouth that just has the built up tooth, just in case....
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# 7
kickstart
Old 06-07-2007, 1:27 PM
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I think crowns are a bit of a lottery ! I have some crowns and have had lots of problems , eg, they actually come off a lot and i still dont bite hard on anything with them. Yet i know other people who are fine with them.
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# 8
Errata
Old 06-07-2007, 6:25 PM
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I occasionally have a filling replaced but that would be a donkey's years old one. I also have two crowns which never give any trouble and they're both getting on for 30 years old. Good old NHS !
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# 9
Toothsmith
Old 06-07-2007, 6:29 PM
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It's all to do with how the filings were done in the first place.

A few years ago, fillings were done larger than they can be nowadays due to what was then the best knowledge, and the materials that were worked with.

Big fillings are OK, but they set up little micro cracks within the tooth that years later cause cusps to fall off - as you've experienced. This can also hapen if the holes are not cut well in a tooth, or if the tooth gets too hot whilst cutting. So a dentist taking his time and getting it right will be the best way to stop this sort of thing happening.

Unfortunately, you can't go back in time and have the fillings done again with modern materials and techniques!

Crowning probably is the best way to go in your situation now - but don't just have everything crowned. Only the ones that break.

As for your children, or anyone with teeth with no fillings in them. Best of all is to make sure you don't get fillings in the first place.

If you do need them, get them done well, by a dentist who takes his time, and as small as possible using adhesive techniques and white filling wherever possible. (It's a better material for small holes. If you have big holes, it's not quite so good unless the dentist really is very good.)
How to find a dentist.
1. Get recommendations from friends/family/neighbours/etc.
2. Once you have a short-list, VISIT the practices - dont just phone. Go on the pretext of getting a Practice Leaflet.
3. Assess the helpfulness of the staff and the level of the facilities.
4. Only book initial appointment when you find a place you are happy with.
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# 10
Toothsmith
Old 06-07-2007, 7:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Good old NHS !
'Old' NHS is the key here!

There was nothing much wrong with the dentistry you could get on it 30 yrs ago! (for it's time anyway)
How to find a dentist.
1. Get recommendations from friends/family/neighbours/etc.
2. Once you have a short-list, VISIT the practices - dont just phone. Go on the pretext of getting a Practice Leaflet.
3. Assess the helpfulness of the staff and the level of the facilities.
4. Only book initial appointment when you find a place you are happy with.
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# 11
Errata
Old 06-07-2007, 7:51 PM
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Toothsmith, I know you've despaired of NHS dentistry. Perhaps the most important thing is that people take responsibility for the health of their teeth and gums, have regular checkups and a good relationship with their dentist. But of course many won't do that for a variety of reasons.
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# 12
BlondeHeadOn
Old 09-07-2007, 11:39 AM
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I posted a reply at the weekend to say many thanks to all of you who replied - but it seems to have disappeared! So here's another post to say thanks you to all.



I am reassured to know that what I am experiencing is not unusual - thank you, Toothsmith!

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# 13
Louizabeth
Old 16-02-2009, 10:06 PM
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If you are still around on this site...I wouldn't mind findign out if you got your problem with breakign teeth sorted?
I am 30 and have just had a 4th tooth break!!! I freaked when the first two broke in half...went to dentist tried to stop smoking...was told it wasn't smoking doing it...just old fillings putting pressure on the tooth and its bound to happen.
Well now I'm wondering am I bound to just loose every tooth that has a filling, (of which there are many...I don't think as a child my parents halted the intake of vast amounts of sweets!!! good then bad now!) But I too have looked after my teeth since I was an adult (bar the smoking of course!)

So is it smoking?
Is it just inevitable I'm gonna loose half a tooth here and there because of old big silver fillings?
Can I get new white fillings instead? My dentist just replaced the old fillings with new.

It's a bit like a scary nightmare having teeth break so frequently!!!

Any help will be so welcome! I'm a tad freaked at how much this will cost me! I think I need a better dentist...
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# 14
Toothsmith
Old 16-02-2009, 10:23 PM
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If you smoke, it's all a bit pointless anyway.

Doesn't matter if that's the cause of the teeth breaking or not. However they're fixed, you'll probably lose them anyway.

White fillings stain quite quickly as well, so it's best to think of them as nicotene brown fillings - as that's what they'l look like for most of the time they're in your mouth.

If you give up the fags, you'll easily be able to afford whatever you want to fix your teeth. And it may then have a chance of lasting a decent amount of time as well.
How to find a dentist.
1. Get recommendations from friends/family/neighbours/etc.
2. Once you have a short-list, VISIT the practices - dont just phone. Go on the pretext of getting a Practice Leaflet.
3. Assess the helpfulness of the staff and the level of the facilities.
4. Only book initial appointment when you find a place you are happy with.
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# 15
Louizabeth
Old 17-02-2009, 10:09 PM
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Well that is me told! That's it! I'm quitting! The thought of not having teeth is too much to bear!
I stopped smokign for 11 months 2 years ago because a bit of tooth fell out when i was eating TOAST! But my nicotine addiction was delighted to hear my dentist say it's not smoking thats causing your teeth to crack...say no more...I was delighted to have a get out of stopping smoking free card!
But all said and done...you are right! I could probably pay for veneers if i saved what I spend on cigarettes! I'd be better saving it for a deposit on a mortgage though and living in hope that these teeth hold out for me!

Thanks for your frank and honest response! I needed that!
It's time for a stock up on Patches!!!!
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# 16
Toothsmith
Old 17-02-2009, 10:30 PM
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Good on ya!

I'm 14 yrs without fags this Sept!

Ex smokers are always the worst! Your teeth WILL thank you though - by staying in your mouth!
How to find a dentist.
1. Get recommendations from friends/family/neighbours/etc.
2. Once you have a short-list, VISIT the practices - dont just phone. Go on the pretext of getting a Practice Leaflet.
3. Assess the helpfulness of the staff and the level of the facilities.
4. Only book initial appointment when you find a place you are happy with.
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# 17
BlondeHeadOn
Old 18-02-2009, 11:42 AM
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Hi Louizabeth, I've just noticed the revival of this thread - so I thought I'd reply to your question!

I have still had a couple of problems with the aforementioned teeth, in that I have had a crown fitted in one of them now. BUT I haven't had any 'new' problems since I posted the original thread - i.e any problems I have had have been with the teeth already mentioned, and only one of them at that.

Also I now think that if I had just had it crowned straightaway it would have been a better decision. It was cheaper to have it re-filled at the time, but not in the long run as it didn't last.

My old dentist has also retired and I have a new one now - who is very good, and not at all scary!

I have never smoked, so I can't blame my cracking teeth on that - just age-related wear and tear, apparently.

I have become much more teeth-conscious though, and no longer eat crunchy/hard food like raw nuts etc. or very chewy toffees!

Hope this helps, and good luck with your own teeth!

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# 18
pegdog
Old 20-02-2010, 2:31 PM
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I just happened on this forum whilst looking for information about a broken tooth. Last week I told my dentist that for the first time ever (I'm 46) a tooth had partially broken - he said don't worry, it often happened with old fillings and he would keep an eye on it (I'm really nervous of the dentist). Today, another tooth (next to that broken one) also broke and now I have almost one and a half gaps. It doesn't show, even when I grin and apart from a little sensitivity there is no pain.

My question is, do you think it would be OK just to leave this alone because I'm nervous about spending ages in the chair and having loads of work done?
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# 19
WillowMuse
Old 20-02-2010, 3:22 PM
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Hi Pegdog, If you leave it eventually it will cause you pain and you will suffer believe me!!

I had exactly the same happen to two of mine and left it though it would be ok ( also was terrified of the dentist)
It got so bad that I was popping pills like smarties just to take the edge off it and I was a nightmare to live with

The teeth couldnt be saved and I had to have them both out, so in order to save them or at least try I would get them checked now...hth
If your neighbour's grass is greener, its time to water your lawn!
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# 20
ynwa6
Old 20-02-2010, 3:37 PM
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It really depends on the cause of the fracture. If the fracture is due to fatigue (which can occur next to old fillings due to stresses in the tooth as described above) then it may not deteriorate, especially if it is a small amount that has fractured away. However if the cause of fracture was decay or if the fracture is in an area where food/plaque may build up then there is potential for decay, causing the tooth to further weaken and fracture or cause pain.

Your dentist will assess the fracture and decide if it can be left, repaired or needs restoring.
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