During the holidays, we are repeatedly tempted with sticky caramels, chewy cookies, seasonal hard candies and more. Would you know what to do if when biting into your favorite treat, your filling came out? A lost filling is rarely convenient. Now you may be wondering what you should do.
Until you can see your dentist, you'd need to keep the area as clean as you can. Trapped food and bacteria can accelerate tooth decay and make it more difficult to restore your tooth. Here’s what you should do until you can see your dentist.
If You Still Have the Filling
Some dentists suggest that you can put your lost filling back into your tooth by temporarily securing it with toothpaste or denture adhesive. You should never use glue to hold your filling. Glue can be toxic and may damage your tooth.
Other dentists suggest that the filling should not be put back into your mouth. Some believe that you could inhale mercury vapor from silver fillings and damage your lungs. You should contact your dentist’s office and follow their recommendations.
Pain and Discomfort
If your tooth is sensitive to temperature, the nerve could be exposed. Clove oil can be used in the cavity to relieve your pain. Clove oil can be purchased at your pharmacy or your local supermarket. Over-the-counter pain medication can also be helpful.
If the hole left by the loss of a filling is irritating your tongue or cheek, you can place a cotton ball over the tooth to minimize the discomfort. You can also purchase an over-the-counter temporary filling material at your pharmacy. A temporary filling is only a temporary solution.
Why the Filling Came Out
Bacteria can form around the edges of your fillings, causing the filling to loosen as the hole enlarges. Jaw clenching and night grinding can also cause a filling to eventually fall out. Sometimes the area under the filling decays, leading to filling loss.
Prevent Lost Fillings
You can avoid losing a filling at inconvenient times by keeping up with your regular dental check-ups. When your dentists examines and x-rays your teeth, they are looking for signs that your restorations are in need of repair. Your dentist will recommend replacing fillings that are worn or damaged.
At Your Appointment
After examining your tooth, your dentist will decide the best form of treatment. Most often the filling can be replaced. Sometimes there is additional decay that needs to be removed before the tooth can be refilled. If the newly filled area is large, your dentist may suggest a crown to protect your tooth from cracking or breaking.
Nearly all fillings will need to be replaced eventually. If you lose a filling and are in a lot of pain while you or your dentist are away for the holidays, you should still call your dentist's office. You may be able to reach your dentist through their after-hours phone line. If your dentist is unavailable, they may have a colleague filling in for emergencies. There is no need to suffer in silence because of a lost filling.
Be sure to also check out our article on what foods are good for your oral health!
If you're reading this blog because you've recently had a filling fall out, contact Castlebury Dental today.