What to do if a filling falls out? While a tooth filling on the loose isn’t a dental emergency, it can still be bothersome. But, the good thing is that there are many steps you can take to remedy the situation, as well as prevent it in the first place.
As with most dental problems, the most important thing is to act quickly. With your cavity filling gone, the interior of your tooth will be exposed to all kinds of troublesome bacteria and particles of food, and that will lead to infection and tooth decay. But don’t worry — if your fillings fell out temporary fixes are plenty. If you want to read more about restorative dentistry, or you are looking to replace your missing dental fillings or get new ones, Reflection Dental has got you covered.
Without further ado, here are things you can do about your missing filling until you schedule that much-needed dentist appointment.
Remove the Tooth Filling
The first thing you should do is remove the filling from your mouth. Trying to keep it inside might result in you accidentally swallowing it. However, don’t dispose of it after you remove it. You should keep it with you and bring it to your dentist appointment. That way, your dentist can decide whether or not it’s reusable.
Brush Your Teeth Gently
Be sure to maintain your oral hygiene properly as you wait for your scheduled appointment. That will minimize the chances of an infection and keep the filling area nice and clean. Just make sure to be careful and brush your teeth gently. Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash or warm salt water is also a great idea.
Rinse Your Mouth
Gargling with salt water is an excellent way to keep the filling area clean and debris-free. You can mix ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and then gargle it for a couple of seconds. That is a great way to disinfect the area from bacteria that could harm your exposed tooth.
Use Dental Wax
If you find yourself irritated or bothered by the missing filling, you can use dental wax to fill it. It’s available at most pharmacies, and you can simply mold it into the hole like clay, which is a great way to protect your tooth from bacteria and food particles as you wait for your dentist appointment.
Take Pain Medication
Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever is a good way to relieve the pain or discomfort you might be experiencing due to your missing filling. Ibuprofen or Tylenol will probably do the trick.
Refrain From Chewing on the Area
Refrain from chewing on the area of the exposed tooth. That will, understandably, cause discomfort, plus the food particles might get stuck in the hole and lead to infection.
Why Did Your Tooth Filling Fall Out?
Sometimes, tooth fillings simply fall out, but why does this happen? Well, there are several different reasons why this happens. So, if your tooth filling fell out, it might be due to some of the following:
- Chewing can lead to a lot of pressure on the teeth, which can cause fillings to loosen as time goes by and eventually lead to them falling out.
- Decay in the surrounding areas can influence the area with the cavity filling, which can cause the filling to fall out.
- Saliva can sometimes cause the bonding to loosen over time, which causes the fillings to loosen and fall out.
- Biting on hard and chewy foods can loosen a filling over time.
- Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can be the cause behind a variety of different dental issues, and it can also be the reason your tooth filling falls out.
How Long Do Fillings Last?
It’s understandable that fillings don’t last forever, but how long do they usually last, and what is their estimated lifespan? Well, fillings can last anywhere from 5 to 30 years, depending on the type of material used to create them. Amalgam fillings can last from 5 to 25 years, composite fillings last up to 15 years, and gold fillings have the longest lifespan. They can last anywhere from 15 to as long as 30 years.
Now, the type of material used to make your filling isn’t the only determining factor for its longevity. Your dental hygiene also plays a pivotal role in it. If you do your best to keep your oral hygiene to a high standard, and if you visit your dentist regularly, your fillings can last you decades. Another factor that determines the lifespan of your filling is the size and position. The larger your filling is, the more stress it takes. That can, understandably, weaken it over time and affect its longevity.
How to Prevent Your Filling From Falling Out?
The good thing is that there are ways you can extend the lifespan of your filling and keep it from falling out. As mentioned previously, good dental hygiene and regular dentist appointments play a major role in doing so. Good dental hygiene is supposed to involve the following:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Doing this with fluoride toothpaste is the best way to keep your teeth clean and healthy.
- Flossing your teeth every day to get rid of tooth particles, remove bacteria and prevent tartar build-up.
- Buying a new toothbrush every 3–4 months.
- Brushing your tongue to remove bacteria and prevent bad breath.
Following the aforementioned steps and regularly visiting your dentist’s office can greatly influence the longevity of your fillings. However, there are other preventive measures you can also do to protect your fillings from falling out. These include:
- Refraining from teeth grinding is one of the things you can do to keep your filling from falling out way too early. Now, a common problem is a fact that many people grind their teeth while sleeping. However, there are solutions to this. Mouthguards and splints are the most common and practical solutions for this problematic habit.
- Refrain from chewing on hard objects, such as ice, for example.
- Refrain from clenching your teeth.
- Be very careful when biting into hard foods, like candy or nutshells.
- Try to stay away from extremely sticky or sugary foods. These types of foods can stick to your fillings and cause them to dislodge. And they can also cause tooth decay.