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What can I do if I have a lost or loosened filling?
It can happen to anyone — you’re chewing food when you suddenly feel a foreign object in your mouth. Or perhaps you taste some foreign object while brushing and flossing your teeth. When that happens, it’s possible that you have a loose tooth filling, or your tooth filling fell out. When that happens, most people panic because they assume a broken tooth filling is a dental emergency. However, lost or loose tooth fillings don’t pose immediate dental threats, though they certainly require attention. You should stay calm and call your dental office — your dentist will listen to your concerns and provide the ideal next steps and recommendations.
The following is an overview of what you can do about a broken tooth filling:
- Remove the Filling: You should extract the tooth filling and place it in an airtight container or plastic bag. Unlike a knocked-out tooth, you don’t need to preserve the filling in milk or saliva. In some cases, the filling may be reused.
- Clean your Teeth: Without the tooth filling, you’ll have a cavity in your affected tooth where food and debris may get lodged. You should gently brush your teeth to remove all food particles. However, you must be gentle and stop if it hurts.
- Secure the Cavity: You can find dental cement in most pharmacies. You should purchase dental cement and place a small amount in the hole. Using a cotton ball, smoothen the cement and let it sit in the hollow. However, you should stop if doing this causes pain.
- Treat the Discomfort: In most cases, a lost tooth filling doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort. That’s because cavities on the enamel don’t cause any sensations. However, if the cavity reaches into the pulp chamber, you may experience some pain. You can minimize the discomfort with over-the-counter pain medications.
- Schedule Your Appointment: You should ideally contact the dental clinic the moment your tooth filling falls out. The emergency dentist will determine if you have an emergency, provide the first aid tips, and ask you to schedule an appointment. In most cases, you don’t need immediate treatment, but you shouldn’t delay the treatment either.
How to prevent the dental filling from falling out?
- Regular Dental Care: You must brush and floss regularly, rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash, and maintain optimal oral hygiene to protect the filling. Open margins and uneven wear can make the tooth filling fall out.
- Regular Dental Visits: You must go for regular dental cleanings and checkups at the dental clinic. The dental hygienist will examine the filling, ensure it’s safe, and provide tips to prevent tooth decay. If you have tooth decay around the filling, the restoration will be compromised.
How long do dental fillings last?
The average duration for dental fillings is around 10 years, but the specific longevity of the tooth filling depends on your eating habits, dental hygiene, injuries, dental decays, and oral habits, such as teeth grinding and clenching. Furthermore, the longevity of the tooth filling also depends on the material — some materials last longer than others.
The following is an overview of how long different types of tooth fillings last.
- Amalgam Fillings: Approximately 15 years
- Composite Resin Fillings: Approximately 7 years
- Ceramic Fillings: Approximately 15 years
- Glass Ionomer Fillings: Approximately 5 years
Is a tooth filling reversible if it needs to be redone?
Yes, tooth fillings are reversible and can be redone if necessary. After the tooth filling falls out, your dentist will reassess the damage and provide another dental filling. However, if the damage has grown and affected more of the tooth, the dentist may need to consider alternative restoration options, such as dental onlays/ inlays, dental crowns, or root canals. Whether you can get another tooth filling will depend on the current condition of your affected tooth.
What to expect from my appointment for a loose tooth filling?
Once you’re at the dental clinic, the dentist or dental assistant will review your medical history, examine your teeth, and ask about your symptoms. The dentist will also take an x-ray of your teeth to determine the exact nature of the damage. If the tooth can be restored with a simple filling, the dentist will discuss your tooth filling material choices. However, if the dentist identifies advanced signs of dental damage, they may need to consider dental crowns or root canals. On extremely rare occasions, the affected tooth may have to be extracted after the cavity filling falls out.
Is a lost filling a dental emergency?
A lost tooth filling isn’t considered a dental emergency — it’s okay to wait a few days before seeking treatment. However, you may have a dental emergency in the following situations:
- Excessive and persistent toothaches accompanied by swelling or fever.
- The affected tooth is extremely damaged with a large crack that goes under the gumline.
- The affected area bleeds or discharges fluids.
Schedule an appointment for your loose tooth filling today.
URBN Dental is one of the most reputable dental clinics for teeth restorations, fillings, and dental emergency services. We have state-of-the-art dental clinics in Uptown and Midtown Houston, TX, making them incredibly accessible for patients across Houston. If your tooth filling comes out, please contact our emergency dentist services immediately to determine the next steps. For more information, please schedule an appointment at your nearest dental clinic in Houston, TX.