March 8, 2023
You’re out enjoying the day with your family, eating a hearty meal when suddenly, you realize something isn’t right. You reach for your mouth and discover you have a lost dental filling. While panic might seem like the logical first step, it’s important that you remember to stay calm. To keep from causing any further harm to your tooth, here are four easy steps to follow that will ensure you better manage the problem while waiting to see your dentist.
What Can Cause a Dental Filling to Come Out?
Unfortunately, a dental filling is not considered a permanent restoration. They are meant to last several years before requiring replacement. After months and years of daily wear and tear, they simply cannot continue to function the same over time, which causes them to come loose or fall out. Other reasons this dental emergency might occur include:
- Biting down on hard foods
- Teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism)
- Severe facial trauma
- Signs of new decay forming around the tooth
What Should You Do If a Filling Falls Out?
It’s natural to become nervous when dealing with a lost filling. After all, it is the protective seal that shields your tooth from harmful bacteria. But what can you do to ensure that your tooth remains safeguarded while at home? Here are a few steps to consider:
- Call your dentist’s office and alert them to the situation. Unless you are in serious pain, you may be able to wait a day or two before seeing a professional. Either way, your dental team will work quickly to schedule an appointment as quickly as they can for you.
- If possible, retrieve the lost filling and bring it with you to your appointment. It may be possible for your dentist to re-bond it into place if it is not damaged. Otherwise, a new one will need to be put into place.
- Rinse your mouth to flush out any debris before gargling with salt water to keep the area clean and free of any bad oral bacteria.
- Be mindful when eating, trying not to chew on that side of your mouth, and be careful brushing so that you do not further irritate the tooth. Also, use dental wax to cover the tooth and protect it while waiting for your appointment.
Following these steps will help to minimize the potential for further damage to your tooth. Whether you get in to see your dentist the same day or not, knowing how to take proper care of your smile when faced with a dental emergency can make a positive difference in your overall recovery.
About the Author
Dr. Warren Hoffman is a dentist in North Sarasota who received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in Baltimore, Maryland. He then went on to complete an externship during his senior year, providing dental services to stationed members of the United States Coast Guard in Honolulu, Hawaii. At Parkway Ridge Dental, he and his team are here to safeguard smiles and provide immediate dental care when an emergency arises. Should you or a loved one suffer a serious injury or lost crown or filling, contact us at (941) 358-8830!