As you go about your day, the unexpected event of your filling falling out can cause quite the panic. This is especially true now as we’re all trying to minimize our contact with others when possible, and another visit to an office can increase stress. However, it is easy to handle this dental inconvenience without losing your head. Here are our tips and suggestions on how to handle a loose or lost filling and keep your tooth healthy until it is repaired.
First thing is first, if you lose a filling, keep track of it! Don’t throw it away. Instead set it aside in a container where you won’t lose it and can easily transport it back to your dentist. Once you’ve done this, it is time to contact your dentist to let them know about the filling. What if you’ve lost the filling? Not to worry, your dentist will have to replace it with a new one. How about those scary situations where you swallow the filling? You should experience no complications as the filling passes through, and your dentist will simply fashion a new filling when you can get into the office.
There is one scenario where you should contact your local emergency room or urgent care facility. Inhaled fillings can cause serious issues in your lungs, and you’ll want to seek treatment as soon as possible. In this case, hold off on contacting your dentist until this more severe issue is addressed.
When your filling becomes loose or falls out, it is natural to experience tooth pain. Once the filling falls out, a sensitive area of your tooth will become exposed. Sensitivity and pain will often increase in that area until it is repaired. You’ll want to avoid chewing in the area of the missing filling. In addition, hot and cold food and drink will amplify the pain and should be avoided when possible.
For the best care, gently brush the affected area to clean it, especially if you were eating when the filling fell out. If you don’t have immediate access to a toothbrush, warm salt water makes a good cleaning alternative. There are also some options to reduce pain while you wait for repair. Over the counter pain killers can lessen pain. Toothache gels can also be a great aid in this situation. You can also protect the affected area with a temporary tooth filling kit. This is basically dental cement that seals the area for a short time period.
The reality is fillings do not last forever. The best case on lifespan is around 10 years, but how you care for your fillings in the meantime will determine how long they actually last. Brushing twice daily is still the best care option you have for a filling, and don’t forget flossing every day as well. If you grind your teeth at night, consult with your dentist on ways to protect your teeth as you sleep. Tooth grinding can really take a toll on fillings and reduce their lifespan. Finally avoid chewing hard foods or ice as they can also damage or chip fillings.
A dental checkup isn’t just about getting a cleaning and inspecting for cavities. Your dentist uses the opportunity to evaluate the condition of your fillings if you have any. Weak or failing dental fillings can be easily repaired in office so you avoid one ever falling out. This is just another reason to keep on your 6 month cleaning schedule!
If you’ve just lost a filling, there is no time to wait. Contact our office today and we’ll get you in as soon as possible to address the damaged filling. Often we can get patients with emergency needs in the same day as the incident. We typically reserve a few appointment windows just for this purpose. Don’t think you have to wait days in pain or use temporary filling kits for a longer period of time. The best way to take care of a missing filling is to get into the office sooner rather than later!