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non carious hole(/ledge??)



Junior member
Jun 30, 2019
United States
I have some questions that I think only a dentist can help me with but I'm absolutely terrified to call my new office about this. My top canine tooth on the left has always been very crooked and it comes out of my gums at a strange angle so where the tooth should meet the incisor next to it it doesn't and instead it's rotated. About ten years ago, my dentist discovered a small hole (I say hole but it wasn't really a hole, more like where my enamel just stopped short of the gum because of the angle and placement of the tooth) at the top of the front surface of the tooth where it meets the gums. He said that it wasn't a cavity and it was just a "ledge", which I didn't understand, but I was 17 and afraid of him so I didn't think to ask any questions and he just filled it and I promptly forgot all about it. However, within the last couple of years the filling he placed started to wear away and I could see the space he had filled which now looked like a thin sliver of space between my enamel and gum where the enamel just drops off. I hated the way it looked but it never hurt and wasn't sensitive to anything so I ignored it.

Fast forward to last month, I finally decided to try and overcome my fear and phobia of the dentist because after 9 years the fear of the state of my teeth started to outweigh the fear of dentists. I went to a new dentist for the first time in about 9 years and they took x-rays and came up with my treatment plan. The sliver of space didn't seem to be a concern to my new dentist and there's no decay in that tooth according to her, so I figured if she didn't mention it then it wasn't a big deal and I didn't want to bring attention to it. (I had also seen another dentist a couple weeks before deciding on this dentist that also didn't mention the hole or any cavities in that specific tooth and when I asked what it was he also said it "looked like a ledge" - still not sure what that means). I then had my cleaning (I didn't need a deep cleaning and my gums are all healthy with zero signs of gum disease) and the area around the thin sliver of space/remaining filling started to feel sensitive to cold liquid and cold air. So at my next appointment I told my dentist about the sensitivity and she decided to fill it. She numbed me because it was sensitive, cleaned/dried the area with air and filled it with a composite filling. There was little to no drilling involved. Afterwards, I realized that I left the appointment without asking her what exactly even caused the space or what the technical name for it was.

Once I got home and was able to take a look at it in the mirror I saw that you can kind of still see the dark outline of the "ledge" that she filled underneath the filling. The space looked dark before hand due to the shadow casted by the angle of the space and how it's at the time of my enamel, if that makes sense.

I've started to get incredibly anxious about it and now I have all of these worries that having the space filled was a mistake, that now bacteria will get underneath the filling and into the outline of the space that I can still see and it will kill my tooth from the inside out. I was so anxious about the appointment and mentioning my concerns that I didn't sleep the night before and didn't think to ask more questions. So now of course my mind is running wild and causing me to fear what could happen next. I've been thinking about calling back to voice the concerns that I have but I'm really afraid that they're going to think that I'm being dramatic or ignorant, etc. I like my new dentist but I'm still really nervous and kind of afraid of her and we don't have any kind of formed connection after only 3 appointments. I'm straight up terrified to call the office because I'm afraid of this turning into an unnecessary ordeal over what could possibly be nothing.

So I'm just kind of wondering, is this normal? Should I be concerned that I can still see the outline of this "ledge"/hole/whatever this space is? And does that mean that bacteria can now get under the filling into that outline? I honestly have no concept of what is worthy of telling my dentist and I don't want to question her knowledge so I'm having a hard time deciding out what exactly I should do. I'm just really overwhelmed by this entire experience and I'm trying my best to do what's best.
Write down your questions in advance, make an appointment to see your new dentist and are the list with you. If they're worth your money then they should be happy to answer your questions in a way you understand.

It sounds like there's a small step between the enamel of the crown of your tooth and the root, which will be the ledge you're talking about. Perfectly normal but usually can't be detected easily, it's more visible to you because your tooth is at an unusual angle.
Don't worry about bacteria getting under the filling, that's not likely to happen.
Wow, thank you! For both the advise and for answering a question that has been plaguing me for
basically an entire decade. I wish it was as easy for me to ask these questions while at the dentist as it is for me to do so over the internet. ??‍♀️

Is it usually normal/allowed for patients to make appointments just to discuss questions and concerns with their dentist? I had the last of my treatment last week so I'm not due back until February for a cleaning. I would hate to take up an appointment slot just to ask the questions I wasn't brave enough to ask previously.
You could email the questions in first, if you were happy with that kind of comms with the dentist? You're just looking for a short follow up "review" appointment, most dentists are happy to do that as part of the service.
Okay, that's a good idea and good to know. Thank you!!