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Dentistry/fillings and root canals


QUESTION: Hi Dr. Teig, when you have a root canal tooth and a final restoration has to be up in like a composite filling or silver filling to fill in the hole, if the filling chips or something, would that compromise the root canal? When I feel my tongue around that filling which is a composite filling, it feels rough, like there's a line or break in between the filling itself and the tooth structure. Even if you feel like a line and it's not smooth, does that mean there's a gap or is that harmless? I tried to look at it in the mirror since it's an upper front tooth and the filling is in the back of the tooth, but I don't see any gaps or holes, but just that there's a line and it's like it's not smooth out, but I am only seeing it from my point of view. Will that un-smoothless or "line" be harmful or harmless if not corrected? My dentist is out of town until the end of the month. Thanks!

ANSWER: Kelly -  I cannot be completely sure without examining you, but the break between the tooth and the filling could be a line that allows leakage into the tooth.  Most likely it will not affect the root canal filling in a short time, but that leakage area could produce decay of the root canal tooth.  

So most likely it is harmless, but the dentist should check it out.  Replacement replacement or repair of the filling might be necessary. So you can wait for a couple of weeks, but then have the area evaluated.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Is there a difference between leakage as far as the line goes and not being smoothed out? Like is it possible that the line is not really leakage but it's not smoothed out, the filling? If that's the case if it's simply that it's not smooth out, can that be harmful in any way? thanks!

Kelly - Yes it is definitely possible that the line is not a leakage spot, but an irregular area that was not properly trimmed when the filling was placed.  An irregular not smooth area is not dangerous.  It will not produce a leak and may only need to be smoothed out by the dentist.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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