This buckle filling is going to be the death of me...
April 28, 2008 12:09 PM   Subscribe

I keep losing the same buckle filling again and again. Should I just suck it up and tell my dentist to give me a cap instead?

On my next-to-last bottom molar on the left-hand, I have two buckle fillings. These are fillings that run along the gum line. Unfortunately, I chew most of my food on that side of my mouth as my upper and lower molars on the right side of my mouth are completely gone now. Three times in the past six weeks, I've lost that same filling. Before I changed dentists, I lost a filling right next to it four times in a year (same tooth). At first I thought I had a crappy dentist, so I changed dentists. Now I feel like I just have a crappy/unlucky tooth situation going on.

I know it's expensive to have a cap made (~$500) and I have a limit on my dental insurance to $2000 per year. I just had $1000 worth of fillings done.

Obviously my mouth is a mess. This last filling only lasted 13 days. I am waking up, realizing the filling fell out when I'm flossing in the morning and getting frustrated.

Is there anything I can do to prevent this? Yes, I chew gum on occasion (mostly when I drink) and will eat Jelly Bellies about once every two months. I probably am only hurting my teeth by doing this. Does anyone else have experience with losing fillings over and over again? Is getting a capped tooth a better solution? I'm just sick of going to the dentist and would love to hear if anyone else has this problem but me.

Any dentists in the house have any advice on this? I cannot believe how many times this tooth has given me problems. IT'S MY ENEMY. HELP ME CONQUER IT!
posted by Unicorn on the cob to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
I have two maryland bridges that I have had to replace about three times each and re-attach about ten times each. I got a crown last year where I was missing a molar and I suddenly wondered why I had waited so long to have the work done. Get a crown, believe me, it's costly but it's worth it.
posted by parmanparman at 12:23 PM on April 28, 2008

I've had that experience, and there comes a point where any filling is doomed to be temporary, especially those fillings at the gumline where a lot of surface area is missing. What's worse is, as that filling is failing, debris and bacteria are getting behind it and further compromising the tooth further. I don't even chew gum or eat Jelly Bellies, and all those fillings eventually fell out. Of course, I should note that my teeth have enamel deficiencies and that my bite was "too straight" from my childhood braces (i.e. front incisors met at the biting surface) and this caused me to grind my teeth.

You should bite the bullet and get the tooth crowned -- they probably won't have to do a root canal if there's not excessive nerve sensitivity. The first dentist to give me what you call "buckle fillings" was surprised that I wasn't in pain from all that somewhat exposed nerve. The fillings only do so much for insulation from hot and cold.

What my latest dentist (the most awesome dude) did when he saw the mess of my mouth: As teeth started losing fillings/breaking, he would temp crown them. We arranged for two permanent crowns per year because my insurance would only pay half the cost of two crowns a year; the others would keep their temp crowns until I could afford to do them. Teeth were prioritized by how likely the temp crowns would break under pressure. In addition, the crowns were fitted to normalize my bite. I lost one tooth entirely (it was too late to save it) and that bridge was fitted during the time period.

Over a period of about 8 years, we crowned 16 of my 26 teeth (I had four impacted wisdom teeth and two pulled for braces years ago) and put a bridge in for the lost tooth. And this dentist threw in my two front teeth crowns (no cavities, but badly discolored from the enamel deficiency and worn from the occlusion problem) for free as my wedding present.

Sorry to go on so long, but I wanted to let you know what was possible. My mouth went from a total mess to very serviceable and aesthetically pleasing. It took a lot of work, a lot of money ($400 per crown was paid out of my own pockets) and a lot of pain medication (because some of those crowns came with root canals and infections). It was worth it, because almost all my teeth (or at least all my roots) are mine.
posted by lleachie at 12:38 PM on April 28, 2008

PS: The real danger in neglecting your teeth is your heart, not your bite. Studies have linked bad dental health with bad heart health.
posted by lleachie at 12:42 PM on April 28, 2008

Yeah, there's not excessive nerve sensitivity. I haven't even had it deadened the last two times they filled it.

That tears it; I'm going to ask about getting a crown when I go in tomorrow. Lleachie, you have my sympathies...

Part of the problem is I was bulimic for years and pretty much destroyed my teeth. I'm fanatical about taking care of them now, but if I had a time machine, oh, man, I'd use it to go back and smack myself.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:50 PM on April 28, 2008

Probably it's a buccal filling, not a buckle filling. Buccal just means "on the cheek side," as opposed to lingual, which is the tongue side. Might make it easier to google for more info.

Sorry I don't have any more specific info on the problem.
posted by slenderloris at 1:29 PM on April 28, 2008

Ah, thanks for the info, slenderloris! I feel a bit stupid now. :)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:41 PM on April 28, 2008

I didn't get a choice when I shattered my molar from decay and bruxism (grinding). I got a crown and while the root canal and other dental work was a pain in the butt and costly, having a porcelain coated metal crown glued to a post that's screwed into, essentially, my jaw, is a really convenient permanent solution. Having bits fall out would grate my cheese so hard I would be in a killing rage.

So if you can afford/accommodate a crown, I heartily recommend it.
posted by kalessin at 5:58 AM on April 29, 2008

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