Top Signs You May Have a Cavity Under a Filling

If you’ve had a cavity at some point in the past and gotten it filled, you might think you’re in the clear—the tooth is sealed, so nothing bad can happen to it, right?

Unfortunately, tooth decay can still happen underneath a filling, especially if the filling has been cracked, worn, or otherwise damaged. In these cases, bacteria can enter your tooth and a new cavity can start again.

What are the signs you might have a cavity forming underneath your filling?

You Have a Toothache

You may have mild to severe pain radiating from one of your teeth. For some people, this pain will extend outward into their jaw or can even cause headaches. A toothache isn’t only a sign of a cavity forming underneath a filling—it could signal a cavity in one of your other teeth as well. Other symptoms of a toothache include a bad taste in your mouth, a fever, or swelling [1]. Be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible if you have any of
these symptoms!

You Have a Discolored Spot on Your Tooth

If your filling is a composite resin filling, it should match the natural color of your teeth and not stand out in any way. However, if you have a cavity forming underneath your composite resin filling, the filling may look darker or have a yellowish appearance, which could be a sign that the filling material is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Your dentist can evaluate the integrity of your fillings during your regular checkups to ensure they’re intact and doing their job [2]!

The Filling May Have Fallen Out

For some patients, it’s obvious when a filling falls out, but for others, this isn’t so. When a filling becomes damaged, it’s possible that the entire restoration can fall out. You may have seen pieces of the filling or the whole filling may have come out. While this may or may not be accompanied by pain, if you suspect your filling has come out, it’s time to see your dentist.

A new cavity can form in your tooth once the filling is gone, so don’t delay in getting it replaced!

Your Tooth Is Sensitive

Although it’s estimated that more than 12 percent of Americans have sensitive teeth, teeth that are sensitive to temperature can cause severe pain and are typically a sign something else is going on with your smile [3].

If you experience pain when drinking a cold beverage, sipping hot soup, or even eating sweet or spicy foods, you could have a cavity and not know it. Only by following up with your dentist can you know what the root cause of your tooth sensitivity is.

Is It Time to Have Your Fillings Checked Out?

If you’re seeing any of these signs, you could have a cavity forming underneath a damaged
filling. Your dentist will simply remove the old filling and put a new one in to stop further decay and keep your smile healthy. Don’t delay in getting your fillings checked out during your regular dental appointment!