If you’ve ever had a cavity, it was probably treated with a dental filling. Whether amalgam or composite, a filling is an effective method of saving a tooth from decay. Although they are designed to provide a long-lasting solution, a filling can fall out. If you have a lost dental filling, don’t be alarmed. Here’s how to handle the situation until you see your emergency dentist.
Handling a Lost Filling at Home
A lost filling isn’t always painful, but that doesn’t mean you can wait until your next semi-annual cleaning and checkup to have it replaced. Your tooth will be vulnerable to bacteria and breaks or fractures. If you wait too long to see your dentist, a filling may not be enough to fix your tooth. You can avoid a costly dental bill and preserve your smile by calling your emergency dentist right away. They’ll walk you through steps to take at home until your appointment, which include:
1. Keep Your Mouth Clean
Your oral hygiene is more important than ever if you lose a filling. Besides brushing and flossing, consider using a mouthrinse to kill any lingering bacteria. Gargling with a salt and water mixture will rinse away food debris after eating. It can also provide temporary pain relief.
2. Manage Any Pain
It’s not unusual for your tooth to ache. You can manage your discomfort using an OTC pain reliever but never apply it directly to the tooth. A cold compress can numb the area temporarily to keep you comfortable.
3. Watch What You Eat
The structure of your tooth can be compromised, which can increase your risk of a break or fracture. It’s best to eat softer foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth until your tooth is fixed. Avoid anything hot, cold, or acidic to prevent sensitivity.
4. Use a Temporary Material
If you can’t get to your dental office right away, use dental wax or temporary filling material to protect your smile. Although it provides a quick fix, it’s not intended for long-term use. You’ll still need to see your dentist.
How to Prevent Lost Fillings
A dental filling can fall out for several reasons. You can avoid an unplanned trip to the dentist by following a few tips:
- Commit to a solid oral hygiene routine at home.
- Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup.
- Don’t bite hard or crunchy foods.
- Use a nightguard to treat grinding and clenching from bruxism.
- Don’t eat sticky or chewy foods.
- Limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks.
If your filling falls out, don’t panic. Your dentist will address your pain and replace your filling, so you can get back to enjoying the day.
About Dr. Cody Calderwood
Dr. Calderwood earned his dental degree from the University of Maryland. He regularly continues his education in advanced techniques and technologies. Dr. Calderwood is an active member of various professional organizations, including the Academy of General Dentistry. If you need an emergency dentist, contact our office today.