I lost a filling in my tooth and don’t know what to do!
Take a breath and relax. If you find yourself dealing with a lost tooth filling, you have some options, so try not to panic. Read on to learn what to do if you lose a dental filling.
What Causes a Tooth Filling to Fall Out?
First, it’s important to note that it’s not uncommon to lose a filling or crown. Several circumstances can lead to a loose dental filling.
- New areas of decay around the filling.
- Chewing on hard or crunchy foods.
- Bruxism, commonly known as grinding your teeth.
- An accident or trauma to your tooth or the root.
- A chemical reaction that weakens the bond between the filling and your tooth.
Remember, it doesn’t have to fall out completely to create some discomfort or more problems. It helps to catch a filling when it’s loose to prevent more damage.
What Do I Do If My Filling Falls Out?
If you lost a dental filling, contact your dentist to make an appointment. You may be able to get in on the same day or within a few days. If you can’t get to the dentist immediately, you should take extra care of the tooth.
- Keep the area clean to prevent bacteria from attacking the exposed tissue.
- Try to chew on the other side of your mouth.
- Consider using over-the-counter dental cement to temporarily cover the area, unless you have sensitive teeth.
Is Losing a Filling an Emergency?
A lost tooth filling only becomes emergent in rare situations. Unfortunately, it can cause pain because of the exposed tissue and leave you open to more decay. If you experience pain that can’t be managed, notice a foul smell or taste, or have discharge from the affected tooth, you need to contact an emergency dentist.
How Long Can You Wait If a Filling Falls Out?
Though lost tooth fillings aren’t usually emergencies, it’s a good idea to have yours repaired as soon as possible. While the tooth remains exposed, it’s more susceptible to damage from bacteria and other factors. Leaving your tooth in a weakened state for too long could lead to more extensive repair or loss of the tooth.
What Does a Fallen Out Filling Look Like?
Though sudden pain is one of the most common symptoms, it’s possible to have lost a filling with no pain. If you notice a crack or indent in a treated tooth or experience sensitivity to temperature, you may want to take a peek in your mouth. A lost filling leaves behind a hole that’s easy to identify because it won’t be silver or tooth-colored anymore.
How To Manage Lost Filling Tooth Pain
While it’s possible to lose a filling and experience no pain, it’s equally likely that you could face some discomfort and sensitivity in the area. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help you manage the pain until you can get to the dentist. Additionally, you may want to try a home remedy for lost tooth filling.
- Gently rinse and gargle with warm salt water to clean the area.
- Using a Q-tip, apply clove oil to the tooth and gum.
- Use cold compresses for fifteen minutes to alleviate pain.
- Try a topical oral gel or cream to numb the area.
How Will the Dentist Fix a Lost Filling?
When you see the dentist, they will examine the tooth and possibly take x-rays to determine the best course of treatment. There are three potential outcomes:
- A new filling means the tooth can be repaired.
- A root canal and crown or cap suggest the damage is worse and the cavity exposed your tooth’s nerve.
- Sometimes, the damage is so severe that the only option is tooth extraction.