Is a Lost Filling a Dental Emergency?

January 23, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomballdentists @ 3:21 am

Tooth-colored filling on a molarIf you’ve experienced tooth decay, your dentist used a dental filling to treat it. Fillings are effective and durable; however, they don’t last forever. A filling can fall out with age. Don’t panic! Here’s what you should do until you see your emergency dentist.

The Average Lifespan of a Dental Filling

Dental fillings can last for 5 to 15 years. Many factors affect their lifespan, like your oral hygiene habits. Even with the correct care, your filling will need to be replaced eventually. A filling can fall out for many reasons, like:

  • New decay around the filling.
  • Chewing too hard.
  • Biting into crunchy or hard foods.
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth.
  • Trauma. 
  • A chemical reaction that damages the tooth’s bond with the filling.

Managing a Lost Dental Filling

A lost dental filling isn’t anything to ignore. Your tooth will be vulnerable to sensitivity, bacteria, and additional damage. A small issue can turn into a big problem if you don’t act fast. Here’s what you should do if your filling has fallen out:

  1. Contact Your Dentist: Contact an emergency dentist for an appointment. 
  2. Rinse Your Mouth: Rinse your mouth with salt water to remove any debris. It is also a natural antiseptic to kill bacteria. A salt water rinse can also reduce pain and inflammation.
  3. Manage Any Pain: An OTC pain reliever can reduce discomfort. An oral numbing gel can also give you relief.
  4. Keep Your Mouth Clean: Continue to brush twice daily and floss at least once per day.
  5. Eat Carefully: Avoid hot or cold foods and drinks to prevent sensitivity. Choose soft foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth.
  6. Use Dental Wax: Apply dental wax to your tooth for a temporary protective barrier.

Treating a Lost Filling

Your dentist will get you into their office to manage your pain and save your tooth. After an examination and X-rays, your dentist will determine if you require any treatments before replacing your filling, like removing any decay.

Once any prep work is complete, your dentist will use a composite resin that’s shaded to the color of your enamel to replace the filling. It will look like part of your tooth for seamless results. Your filling can last for many years with good oral hygiene and regular dental care. 

About Dr. James D. Geer

Dr. Geer earned his dental degree from the University of Texas at Houston and has completed advanced training in many specialties, like oral surgery and extractions. He maintains memberships with several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association. If you’ve lost a filling, schedule a same-day appointment through his website or call his office at (832) 639-6236.

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