Dental fillings are used to close in cavities and prevent further tooth decay. They last for several years and many patients forget that they’re even there.
Until one day, they fall out.
Losing a filling is a common experience for many Canadians. But when it happens, what actions should you immediately take to minimize tooth damage?
Why Do Fillings Fall Out?
There are several causes behind a loose filling:
- It was fitted improperly. If the filling doesn’t bond properly with the tooth, it can fall out easily; perhaps a few years after it was placed. A filling that falls out days after your appointment might be replaced by your dentist free of charge.
- There is new decay around the tooth. Fillings aren’t a perfect fix for tooth decay. Over time, sugar and acid can still wear down teeth and damage areas that surround the material. This may cause a filling to become loose and easier to dislodge.
- The filling is old. Many patients are unaware that different types of fillings have varying durability. Amalgam and gold fillings tend to last longer than composite fillings. If your filling has been around for some time, it might be due for a replacement.
- You bit down on something hard. Even the strongest fillings can break under the force of our jaws. If you want to prevent this from happening, avoid biting foods like ice, hard candies, and tough meats. You may also dislodge a filling if you grind or clench your teeth at night.
While these are the most common causes behind a loose filling, only a dentist can properly diagnose the issue.
What Should You Do?
You’ve just discovered that a filling has fallen out and you’re wondering what to do next. Follow these tips:
Start by taking an over-the-counter NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). Once the pill takes effect, it can reduce any swelling or pain in your mouth.
You can also try clove oil, which is a natural anaesthetic. Apply this numbing agent by dipping a clean cotton tissue in the oil and smoothing it over the affected area.
Put the filling in a bag
If you managed to catch the filling, put it in a clean and secure place. You can bring this to your dentist and potentially reuse it, especially if it’s a crown. By taking the filling to the dentist, you may get a reduced rate on the replacement!
Keep the area clean
You might notice that the tooth is especially sensitive to hot/cold temperatures or pressure. Make an effort to chew on the opposite side of your mouth, which will save your damaged tooth from excessive force.
It’s tough to clean exposed cavities. You can use an antibacterial mouthwash to control germs.
Call your dentist
When a filling falls out, it leaves an exposed hole in your tooth. This space is hard to clean but easy for bacteria to get into. Exposed areas can make tooth decay worse.
After you lose a filling, make it a priority to call your dentist. Depending on how much pain you are in, you may need to call an emergency dentist. If the toothache is mild, you can wait until a regular dental office is open.
Do you need a dental filling in Winnipeg? EK Dental can help! In most cases, the filling can simply be replaced. But if the tooth is left to decay, you may require a root canal or crown. Don’t delay—give us a call!