When you have a cavity, you may turn to the cavity fillings. Cavity fillings, also called dental fillings or tooth fillings, are dental restorations designed to help moderate cavities in teeth.
Your filling falls out? Don’t be panicky.
There exist various dental fillings, while none of them can last forever. Sometimes, a filling can fall out. If that happens, please don’t be panicky. After all, it is a fact that dental fillings are likely to fall out though they are tough restorations. So, what to do when your filling falls out? Here are some tips.
What to do at first? Call your dentist.
If your filling comes loose or even falls out, it’s of great importance to have it replaced immediately. Usually, it can be fixed quickly by your dentist with ease. So, please just call your dentist right away to make an appointment to alleviate your pain as early as possible. Remember to ask for some suggestions for the tooth protection from further damage.
You may be confronted with two options: to get a new filling, or to get a root canal, crown, or cap. The choice often depends on the specific situations. Oftentimes, another filling may be necessary if the dentist thinks your tooth can be repaired. In rare situations, if the loss of a filling or fractured tooth is too severe to repair, the only option tends to be extraction. Under the circumstance, a bridge or a dental implant can be advised as a substitute.
What to do before the appointed time? Follow the instructions.
While waiting for the appointed time, please pay attention to the following aspects:
1.Store the filling. Remove the filling from your mouth to avoid swallowing it accidentally, but keep it with a Ziploc bag so the dentist can decide whether it will be reused.
2.Keep your mouth clean. You can gently brush around the affected area and gargle with warm salt water or mouthwash to remove any food debris as well as kill bacteria.
3.Avoid any pressure on the affected tooth. Since any pressure put on the damaged tooth can worsen the situation like causing more chipping, avoid food that needs lots of chewing and try to keep food away from the exposed spot.
- Use dental cement to secure the hole. Secure the hole created when the filling fell out with dental cement available at local pharmacies. Make a small ball of it, place it in the hole and then pack it down with a wet cotton. However, make sure to consult your dentist first since it is a temporary solution.
- Relieve your discomfort while you wait. The loss of the filling canat times leads to acute pain as the nerve is exposed. OTC medicines may help to numb it while you wait, but remember that receiving treatment as soon as possible is still necessary despite the absence of pain.
Your dentist cannot see you immediately? Here are tips for pain relief.
In most cases, a dental office will do its utmost to see you as soon as possible. But what to do if your dentist is unable to see you very soon? Usually, you can wait for up to three days for treatment. However, if the symptoms are not mild or the appointment cannot be scheduled within three days, you should find a new dentist to resolve the problem.
Before the appointed time, there are also several steps you can take for pain relief:
- Take an OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID),such as ibuprofen.
- Use a local anaesthetic to temporarily numb the tooth and gums.
- Apply clove oil to the exposed tooth and gum or use a whole clove.
- Use a cold compress or an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time to relieve pain and swelling.
Meanwhile, you should maintain your daily oral care, including making sure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and fill the void with dental wax which helps to prevent bacteria from space invasion and ensure that the tooth doesn’t scratch your gums.
Will the falling be an emergency? It depends on the specific situation.
Dental emergencies are incidents involving the mouth that require urgent medical attention and treatment. Some examples include broken teeth, knocked-out teeth, excruciating pain, fluid discharge, and ongoing gum bleeding, then you must contact your dentist immediately.
In general, a missing filling does not mean an emergency, and you can wait for two or three days before seeking treatment with mild symptoms. At many times, when a filling falls out, you may experience pain and sensitivity around the affected tooth. The tooth tissues’ exposure to air, pressure, cold, and heat can cause unease and you will likely have difficulty eating, drinking, and chewing.
However, it is worth noting that if a filling cannot replaced within a few days, it can be harmful to the unprotected tooth. Bacteria and food particles may enter the empty space, causing decay. Also, the missing filling can expose dentin, which is softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. So please get the filling replaced as soon as possible.
Why does the filling fall out? Many factors account for it.
Lots of reasons can contribute to a filling becoming chipped or broken. Some of the most common reasons can be concluded as follows:
- Biting or chewing something too hard. It produces a great deal of pressure and loosens fillings over time.
- Developing decay around the filling. New decay in the surrounding area may cause a filling to fall out.
- Grinding your teeth. Bruxism can make a filling fall out.
- Trauma to the tooth or root. The minor trauma can contribute to the falling of the filling later.
- A chemical reaction related to saliva. The reaction may loosen the bond of the filling to the tooth over time.
What can help the filling last? Refer to the suggestions.
The lifetime of a filling depends on the materials used and your personal dental hygiene. The longevity of a filling depends on the materials used and your personal dental hygiene. If you make constant effort to keep your teeth and gums in good shape and visit your dentist regularly for checkups, your filling may last longer.
Here are part of general timeframes for specific filling materials:
- amalgam fillings: 5 to 25 years
- composite fillings: 5 to 15 years
- gold fillings: 15 to 30 years
In addition, the lifetime of the filling is influenced by its size and location. Like all structural materials, filler materials have limitations in strength. This effect is especially pronounced if the fillings are large and expected to bear a large chewing burden, or if they are used to lengthen the teeth vertically.
The key to prevent loose fillings and prolong their service life is to develop good hygiene habits and have regular dental examinations. Here are some tips for maintaining oral hygiene:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably with fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean your tongue when you brush your teeth to remove germs and freshen your breath.
- Floss your teeth every day.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
- Visit your dentist regularly to get your mouth cleaned, check your fillings for wear and replace them as needed.
- Avoid grinding your teeth. If you have this habit, you can choose to wear a mouth guard or a splint
- Be careful when you bite or chewing hard food, such as nut shells, hard candy, etc.
- Avoid sticky and sugary food. This kind of food can stick to your teeth and increase the risk of cavities.
The bottom line
With good dental hygiene, fillings can last a long time, but not forever.
If the filling comes loose or falls out, see your dentist as soon as possible.