How Can Your Dentist Treat A Tooth With A Large Filling That Has Failed?

Dental fillings are an easy-to-administer and generally effective dental tool that can restore a tooth with cavity damage. Large cavities can receive fillings, but further damage to the remaining dentin can cause the filling to become loose or fail. The failed filling can expose your tooth's sensitive root canal, and the filling can end up falling out while chewing. If your filling has failed, call your dentist immediately for a corrective appointment.

How can your dentist treat a tooth with a large filling that has failed?

Root Canal Therapy and Dental Crown

Does the tooth have minor damage other than the failed filling? Your dentist might want to treat the tooth using root canal therapy and a dental crown.

The root canal in the center of the tooth contains vital pulp material, which contains blood and tissue cells as well as nerves that, when exposed, make your tooth sensitive to hot and cold. Cavities can damage the pulp material, and a loosened or failed filling can also move around and cause more damage.

A root canal procedure essentially clears out all of the vital pulp material and blocks access to any newly forming pulp. Your dentist will drill a small hole in the top or rear of your tooth then use a narrow specialty tool to scrape out the existing pulp. The canal is rinsed clean then filled with an expanding bio-cement material to block future pulp.

Since the interior tooth is no longer a good candidate for a filling, your dentist will instead close the cavity hole and the root canal hole at the same time using a dental crown. A crown is a porcelain or metal-backed porcelain tooth shell that is bonded to the exterior surface of the tooth. The crown will act as the new enamel and upper dentin layer for your tooth and better protect the natural tooth from further damage.

Extraction and Dental Replacement

The failed filling can be a sign of significant further damage to your natural tooth, which might mean there is not enough tooth left to save. Your dentist might then skip the root canal procedure and move straight towards dental extraction with a followup dental replacement.

Why do you need to replace the extracted tooth? There is the obvious cosmetic issue, but that can seem minor if the tooth is in the rear of your mouth. But a tooth also serves valuable roles in keeping the other teeth from moving out of position while also promoting bone and tissue growth in the underlying area. Dental implants are one of the best dental replacement options for best mimicking both the feel of a natural tooth and the valuable roles served by a natural tooth. 

To learn more about these options, rely on a dentist like those represented at