A fallen-out filling is a very common dental problem, but there’s no reason to panic if it doesn’t hurt. However, just because you don’t feel any pain, you must not ignore the problem.
You should see your dentist as soon as possible to get the issue fixed because while not a dental emergency, it can cause a whole host of problems. So, read on to know what to do if your filling has fallen out.
Reasons Why Your Dental Filling May Have Fallen Out?
Typically, a filling is used by the dentist to fill the hole made when repairing a broken tooth or removing decay. Sometimes you may notice that your tooth filling has fallen out because of the space in your tooth, while at other times, you may not even notice it. Here are a few reasons why your tooth filling may have fallen out:
- Because of very vigorous and hard brushing or flossing
- The build-up of plaque around the margins of the tooth filling can cause it to become loose
- Wear and tear of the tooth because of eating, chewing and grinding
- Biting down or chewing very hard, causing the bond of the filling to break
- Bruxism (grinding your teeth)
- Trauma to the tooth or the root
Is a Fallen Out Filling Harmful?
A fallen-out filling may not constitute a medical emergency; however, it is a serious dental problem and must be dealt with as soon as possible. When the dental filling falls out, it leaves the area under the tooth exposed, which can cause additional decay.
If the filling is not replaced quickly, it can cause harm to the unprotected tooth. Food particles and bacteria can get into the hole left by the fallen-out filling and cause tooth decay. The fallen-out filling can also cause the dentin (the soft layer under the enamel) to be exposed, which is very sensitive and more prone to decay.
If left unfilled, the decay can worsen and reach the root, causing the tooth to crack, which may require a root canal procedure and maybe even tooth extraction. So, it is advisable to get the filling that has fallen out replaced at the earliest.
What to Do If Your Filling Falls Out?
If your filling falls out, then you must contact your dentist and get it replaced as soon as possible. However meanwhile, you can take the following steps:
- Keep the filling if you have it so that the dentist can decide whether they can reuse it or not.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water to remove any food particles from your tooth and keep it clean. To do this, mix half a teaspoon of salt in warm water and gargle. This will kill the harmful bacteria that can cause damage to your exposed tooth.
- Brush your teeth gently and keep your mouth clean.
- If the hole in your tooth is bothering you, you can use some dental wax or any other temporary filling material to fill the gap until your dentist repairs the filling.
- Keep food away from the exposed tooth, and try not to chew on the affected tooth.
- If you’re having any discomfort or pain, you could take some OTC pain medication such as ibuprofen or Tylenol to relieve the pain.
How to Prevent the Filling from Becoming Loose?
The important thing to prevent your tooth filling from getting loose and falling out is to have regular dental check-ups and practise good hygiene.
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss your teeth every day.
- Use fluoride toothpaste for brushing.
- Brush your tongue to eliminate any bacteria.
- Make sure to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
- Go for regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings.
Regular dental check-ups every six months can help to prevent any problems of your dental fillings coming loose and falling out. In addition, your dentist can determine if the filling is worn out and requires to be replaced.
Some of the preventive measures that can help to prevent your filling from falling out include:
- Avoid grinding your teeth by wearing a splint or mouth guard while sleeping.
- Avoiding biting or chewing hard foods such as ice, hard candy, nutshells, etc.
- Not eating sticky and sugary foods, which can stick to your teeth, loosen your fillings, and increase cavities and tooth decay.
- Avoid clenching your teeth.
- If the tooth where you have a filling begins to become sensitive or starts hurting, see a dentist immediately.
Dental fillings remain intact for a long time when you follow good oral hygiene; however, they don’t last forever. So if your filling falls out, even if it doesn’t hurt, don’t wait for too long and see your dentist immediately to get the filling replaced.
Waiting for a long time before getting the filling replaced can cause many issues like tooth decay and other issues. However, if your tooth filling does fall out and you’re unable to see your dentist immediately to get a replacement, make sure to keep the affected tooth clean and avoid chewing on the area to keep it protected until the problem is resolved.