What Should I Do If My Filling Falls Out?


shutterstock_171527912It can be really scary when you realize that your filling just fell out. No filling will last forever and will eventually fail and need replacement. Regular visits to the dentist will help determine if it is time to be proactive and replace a filling. However, in the event that a filling falls out unexpectedly, there is no need to panic, but you do need to know what steps to take.

Remove the Filling From Your Mouth

The first thing you need to do is to make sure that you remove any pieces of the filling from your mouth to prevent accidentally swallowing it. It is particularly important to remove it from your mouth to prevent accidentally inhaling it into your lungs, as this could cause an infection.

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Once you have removed the filling you can set it aside for now. At this point, you need to call your dentist and explain what happened. Many dentists will have times set aside in their schedules for lost fillings or other dental problems. You can ask the dentist if they want to you keep the filling or not. In most cases there’s no need to save the filling, however, there are some cases where the dentist may want to see it.

Proper Hygiene & Care

In some cases, you may have to wait a few days before you get to your dentist. It is important to take some precautions and practice impeccable oral hygiene until you do. Take care not to eat anything that might case further damage to the tooth. It may be best to try chewing on the other side of the mouth if possible and eat softer foods. Avoid sugary foods and especially sodas as these can quickly cause tooth decay to begin. An unfilled tooth is a good trap for food which can cause harmful bacteria to accumulate. Be sure to brush gently and carefully inside the hole where the filling was to ensure removal of all food debris. It is also a good idea to rinse your mouth out with warm salt water after eating.

What If I Have Pain?

If you experience pain after losing the filling, then it is likely that you have exposed dentin tubules. The dentin tubules are what sends the brain the signal of pain. You can try taking some over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin, Tylenol, or Advil to relieve the pain. However, if this fails you can also try to cover the dentin tubules by putting a temporary filling material inside the hole. There are a few different brands of temporary dental filling materials on the market such as Dentemp, Temparin, and Refilit.

The Outcome

If you take care not to further damage the tooth and practice good oral hygiene and then get to your dentist in a timely manner there should be no reason why your dentist can not treat the tooth with another filling. Be aware though that in some cases the loss of the filling may have been caused by damage to the tooth or a deep cavity under the filling. In this case, your dentist will present a treatment plan to address this.

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