“I have an amalgam filling in my tooth, but it is put in sideways. If I brush it with my toothbrush, it causes a strange sensation, not quite painful, but unpleasant, and it can sometimes hurt. Sometimes I don’t feel anything at all. My question is; is this normal, and if not, how much of a problem is it? Is the problem only going to be solved with a dentist? Thanks in advance, Daniel”
There are 2 possibilities here:
1) You have dentine hypersensitivity, which has nothing to do with your amalgam filling, but can be a result of your gum receding from the base of your tooth. This can happen without a filling, but is much more likely if a filling is present.
If this is the case, then the sensitivity is due to the fact that the enamel is missing from the exposed parts, and the cementum does not cover the dentine enough to prevent it from reacting to outside stimulus (heat, pressure, etc).
This is not tooth decay, many people (including me, for example) experience this. It can be due to the passing of time, or too vigorous brushing.
2) The tooth has started to deteriorate underneath or around the amalgam filling, and your tooth is reacting with pain whenever touched by water or the brush. This type of decay is not always felt by patients, but is always noticed by dental professionals.
In the first case, the problem can be remedied with proper toothpaste for sensitive teeth; Sensodyne, Sensodyíne rapid, Elmex, Pronamel and a host of other toothpastes available for this. The sensitivity should cease in a day or two, as these toothpastes clog up the open dentine tubules. This case does not require the presence of a dentist, although going to one is never a bad idea.
If there is decay, though, it can only be cleared up by a professional, and a different filling will be necessary.