Got Loose Or Missing Fillings?

New Day Smile Dental Group is available for emergency dental appointments at all three of our San Diego County locations (Chula Vista, La Mesa, Mission Valley) so we get a lot of calls from new patients with failed fillings.

Despite the best care you may have received, dental fillings don’t last forever and, sometimes, a filling can fall out. There are many reasons why a filling can come loose. Some of the most common reasons are due to:

  • new decay around the filling

  • chewing too hard

  • biting into hard or crunchy foods

  • grinding your teeth

  • trauma to the tooth or root

  • a chemical reaction that loosens the bond of the filling to the tooth

What should you do if your filling comes loose?

If your filling comes loose or falls out, it’s important to get it replaced as soon as possible. Here’s what to do.

  1. Give us a call to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Let the office know if you’re in pain. If you can’t be seen right away, ask for suggestions about protecting your exposed tooth from damage.

  2. Keep the filling so the dentist can determine whether to reuse it. If you lost a crown, the dentist may be able to re-cement it on your tooth.

  3. Gargle with salt water to keep the area clean and remove any food debris from the tooth. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Gargle for a few seconds. This can help kill bacteria that could damage your exposed tooth.

  4. Take care of the tooth with your dental hygiene routine. Brush the area very gently where the filling came out.

  5. Avoid chewing on the area of the exposed tooth.

  6. Use dental wax or temporary filling material, available online, to protect the exposed tooth. This is only a temporary solution until you can get the filling repaired at your dentist.

What should you do if you’re in pain?

If you’re in pain, consider the following:

  • Take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling.

  • Use a cold compress or an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time to relieve pain and swelling.

  • Apply a topical numbing agent, like Anbesol or Orajel, to temporarily numb the tooth and gums.

Can a loose filling cause complications?

If a filling isn’t replaced within a few days, it could cause damage to the unprotected tooth.

Bacteria and food particles can stick into the empty space, causing decay. Also, the missing filling can expose dentin, the second layer of tooth under the hard outer enamel. Dentin is softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. Exposed dentin can also be very sensitive.

Further decay or damage to the tooth may require more extensive repair work, such as a crown, root canal, or extraction. That’s why the sooner you can get the filling replaced, the better.

The bottom line

With good dental hygiene, fillings can last a long time — but not forever.

If a filling falls out, see your dentist as soon as possible. Waiting too long to get the filling replaced can cause tooth decay and further problems.

Keep the area clean until you can see your dentist and try to limit eating or chewing on the affected area.

If you’ve recently experienced a loose or missing filling, give New Day Smile Dental Group a call to schedule an appointment right away. We can be reached online or by phone at 1-619-464-3944.

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