If you need a filling on a tooth surface that makes contact with another tooth when you close your mouth or chew, it is important that the filling is properly shaped to give you the appropriate amount of contact between your teeth. If the filling is too low, then you may have difficulty chewing efficiently. If the filling is too high, then the pressure of chewing may cause tension in your jaw and may eventually cause your tooth to crack.
Making sure your filling is shaped correctly is a joint effort between you and your dentist. Although your dentist may use many tools, such as a special marking paper to help shape the filling correctly, your dentist will also depend on your feedback to make sure the filling is correct. Below are some tips to help you help your dentist give you the best filling possible.
Rinse Your Mouth and Rest Your Jaw Before Testing the Filling
After your dentist has completed the filling, they will generally ask you to bite down and give feedback regarding the filling. Before you do so, you should rinse your mouth and spend a few moments relaxing your jaw. Since you have likely had your mouth open wide while your dentist was completing the filling, it can feel awkward to close your mouth, and it may take a few moments for you to rediscover your natural bite or your chewing movement.
Move Your Jaw in Various Directions
Often, whether you are biting down on colored paper to mark your tooth or simply biting down to test the filling, you may simply open and close your mouth several times. However, when you use your mouth to chew, your jaw does not move straight up and down. It may move slightly to one side or the other or move at an angle. For this reason, it is important to move your jaw in several directions. For example, bite down, and then wiggle your jaw to the left and right. The movement should not create excessive pressure on your new filling.
Take Your Time Evaluating the Filling
When your dentist asks you to evaluate your filling, you should take your time doing so. Instead of simply opening and closing a few times, you should take at least a full minute assessing how the tooth feels when you talk, when you have your mouth closed, and when you chew. You should also run your tongue over the filling to note if there are any rough spots on the tooth.
Be Honest with Your Dentist
It is important to note that your dentist is relying on your feedback to get the right profile for your filling. They do not want you to simply say, "Good job," when they ask for feedback. You should let your dentist know of any small annoyance that you notice while you are testing your filling. If you are numb from anesthesia, do not be afraid to say that you are unsure of how it feels. Also, if it doesn't feel right but you are unable to say what exactly feels wrong, just let your dentist know that it still feels awkward.
If You Notice a Problem, Call Your Dentist Immediately
You may notice a problem with the height of your filling after you leave the dental office. Perhaps you did not feel it in the dental office because your jaw was numb or because it is something you only notice while you are eating. If you notice anything at all regarding your filling, you should call your dentist and schedule an appointment to have it checked. Filing down the filling should only take a few minutes and will help protect the filling and your tooth.
For more information, talk to a professional such as Kyle J Frisinger DMD.