What to Do If a Filling Falls Out

Dental fillings are great when it comes to restoring your tooth function and treating cavities or minor damages. Unfortunately, it is true that dental fillings can not last a lifetime. Even though dentists use the techniques available to secure a filling in its place for as long as possible, sometimes a filling can fall out and need to be replaced. But, what to do if a filling falls out?

What to Do If a Filling Falls Out

In this article, we will give the information on what to do if a filling falls out.

What Is a Dental Filling

A dental filling is a kind of treatment that is used to restore some part of a tooth with special material. That kind of restoration might be used in cases of cavities or some external damage to the tooth.

Dental fillings can be made from different types of materials:

  • Silver amalgam
  • Gold
  • Tooth-colored composite resin
  • Porcelain
  • Tooth-colored plastic

Silver amalgam and gold tend to be the most long-lasting materials for dental fillings. However, some people might consider them not aesthetic enough. Tooth-colored materials and porcelain are much less noticeable in the mouth and are often preferred by patients for that reason. However, these materials are usually not as strong as gold or amalgam. They typically can last for 5 to 7 years before the replacement is needed. Your cosmetic dentist can recommend the best type of filling for your particular case.

Why a Filling Might Fall Out or Become Loose

First of all, a filling might fall out or become loose just because it is old and simply has undergone a lot of friction and pressure from chewing food and talking over time. There are several other reasons for your dental filling to fall out:

  • Your diet habits are not good for preserving dental filling. If you eat too many hard and crunchy foods that require a lot of chewing, your dental fillings undergo more friction than usual and might wear out sooner.
  • You grind and clench your teeth a lot. These habits also lead to an excess amount of pressure and can rear out your fillings much faster.
  • A new decay is developing in the tooth around the dental filling.
  • Your tooth or its root recently underwent a physical trauma or damage.
  • There is a chemical reaction in your mouth that can loosen the bonding adhering to dental filling in the tooth.

We recommend calling our office and having the filling replaced as soon as possible. We will do our best to alleviate any pain you’re feeling and have you on your way in a short period of time. In the meantime, there are things you can do (and not do) at home while you wait for care.

Is It Dangerous to Lose a Dental Filling

Typically, if a dental filling falls out, it is not a dental emergency. However, we still recommend making an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible, ideally within 3 days, to have the issue fixed.

When a dental filling falls out, the tooth is left unprotected, and some more serious complications might occur. On top of that, the loss of a dental filling is often associated with increased sensitivity of the tooth and even pain. Sometimes, if a patient waits for too long to restore a dental filling, the tooth can start to decay. It can lead to the need for more complicated dental procedures, like installing a dental crown or an implant.

Dos and Don’ts if a Dental Filling Falls out

Before you can visit a dentist to have a filling restored, there are several things you can do in the meantime. Mainly, you need to make sure that further damage to the tooth is prevented.

  • Try salt water rinses. Gargle the affected area with room-temperature salt water for approximately 30 seconds multiple times throughout the day. This will reduce inflammation and kill the bacteria collected around the lost filling area.
  • Make sure that your oral hygiene is sufficient. Brush your teeth regularly, especially after eating, and use mouthwash to prevent inflammation.
  • If you feel pain, you can take an over-the-counter painkiller like Ibuprofen. However, make sure to adhere to a recommended dose. You can also try applying special numbing gels that can also alleviate the discomfort.
  • If gum swelling occurs, use an ice pack compress several times a day. Hold the compress on the outside of your cheek around the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
  • Avoid eating hard and crunchy food. Something like chips might break into tiny pieces that can get stuck in the space where the filling used to be.
  • Try not to clench or grind your teeth to prevent excessive friction.

If your dental filling fell out or you want to check on your existing fillings, make an appointment with one of our dentists at Smile Studio Fontana. Getting your dental fillings in Fontana at our office will ensure your dental health.