Warning Signs Help Avoid Emergency Replacement of Restorations

Boutique Dentistry for Nashville, Tennessee

Senior man portrait toothache

Dental restorations can last a long time if they’re well designed and properly placed by a skilled cosmetic dentist like Dr. Kent E. White in Nashville, TN. However, even the best restoration is unlikely to last forever. They are all likely to fail eventually.

And when restorations do fail, it can lead to an emergency situation. You may experience significant pain, may not be able to eat or even function normally. It may come with a serious infection or other damage that can lead to the loss of the tooth. This can seriously disrupt your life, and it can be expensive to deal with.

But if you watch for warning signs, you can know about the pending failure of a restoration so that we can replace it on your schedule while avoiding the effects of traumatic failure. Here are some signs to watch for.


We want to avoid relying too much on pain as a diagnostic measure, but the truth is that if there’s pain, then there’s something wrong. If your restoration has been properly placed, and it’s in good shape, it shouldn’t hurt when you bite down or chew. And while metal restorations are likely to be sensitive to heat and cold, ceramic restorations should insulate your teeth against them.

So if your restoration suddenly starts showing sensitivity, it’s probably time to talk to your dentist about it.

Changes in Bite

A permanently fixed restoration should be stable in your mouth. It should also promote a healthy bite. So if it’s in good shape, you shouldn’t notice changes in your bite.

If you do notice changes in your bite, it may be because your teeth have moved. That may be because of neuromuscular effects from the restoration or it may be related to gum disease.

Or the culprit may be the restoration, which has shifted, worn, or cracked. The only way to identify the cause for sure is by letting your dentist take a look.

Discoloration of Restoration or Tooth

Modern dental restorations are highly resistant to staining. Normal food and beverage stains will just wash off an undamaged dental crown or porcelain veneer.

So if it starts to change color, that’s a warning sign. It could be that the restoration has been scratched or cracked and stains are penetrating underneath the glaze. Or it could be a sign that the tooth underneath the restoration is changing color. This could be caused by tooth decay, an infected tooth, or the presence of old metal restorations.

Visible Pits, Chips, or Cracks

Any visible damage to your restoration should be taken seriously. You might think it’s just a minor chip or a cosmetic blemish, but it can cause much more impact than it seems at first. Chips and cracks can propagate through the restoration. And once a restoration is cracked, bacteria can get through to damage or infect the tooth.

Pitting is a sign that your restoration is under chemical attack. This shouldn’t happen–modern restorations are highly resistant to acids in the mouth, either food or stomach acid–but if it is happening we have to figure out why.

Chronic Bad Taste or Bad Breath

Use all your senses to gauge the health of your restorations. If you don’t see or feel anything wrong, you might taste or smell it.

If oral bacteria have penetrated under the restoration and into the tooth, they can produce compounds that cause chronic bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Whenever you experience a bad taste or bad breath that isn’t affected by your normal daily hygiene routine, it’s time to see your dentist.

Checkups Help Monitor Your Restorations

Of course, if you’re making your regular dental checkups, we’ll be able to watch out for the health of your restorations. This should allow us to identify problems before they become emergencies and recommend appropriate treatment, including replacement of your restorations if necessary.

If you are looking for a dentist in Nashville, TN to monitor, repair, or replace your restorations, please call (615) 383-6787 today for an appointment with Dr. White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry.