The fillings used to repair cavities can eventually come loose and fall out. It might be due to decay or trauma, but it may also simply be the result of wear and tear. No matter the reason, a lost filling is a dental issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. If your filling falls out, follow the 6 steps listed below to keep the situation under control and protect your smile.
1. Call Your Dentist Immediately
The first thing you need to do is reach out to your dentist and tell them what happened. A lost filling isn’t necessarily a dental emergency, but you don’t want to wait too long to have it repaired or replaced. Make sure to let your dentist know if you’re experiencing any pain. You should also ask if they have any tips for taking care of the affected tooth until you can get to their office.
2. Keep the Filling in a Safe Place
Your dentist might not be able to see you right away, so until your appointment, you should store your filling in a sealed container. Sometimes it’s possible to reuse a lost filling if it’s still in good enough shape. As such, be sure to keep your filling in a place where you’ll remember to grab it when it’s time to leave for your dentist’s office.
3. Keep Your Mouth Clean by Gargling with Salt Water
When a filling is lost, one of your top priorities should be to protect the exposed tooth from harmful bacteria that might cause decay or infection. One reliable way to do this is to gargle with a cup of warm water mixed with a half teaspoon of salt. You’ll only need to gargle for a few seconds to get the benefits.
4. Be Gentle with the Tooth When Brushing
You can brush like you normally would after a filling falls out as long as it doesn’t cause any pain. That said, you don’t want to do any further damage to the tooth, so be very gentle while brushing that particular part of your mouth.
5. Exercise Caution While Eating
Trying to chew with the affected tooth could cause food or bacteria to get trapped in the space left by the filling. To keep the tooth safe, you should chew with the opposite side of your mouth until the problem has been properly treated by a professional.
6. Get the Care You Need Quickly
Once it’s time for your appointment, get to the dental office right away. The sooner your dentist can see you, the sooner they can either put the filling back in place or give you a new one. Even if you’re not experiencing any pain, you shouldn’t leave your tooth exposed any longer than necessary.
About the Author
Dr. Anthony Dillard earned his dental doctorate at the Baylor College of Dentistry. He has completed many advanced continuing education courses since his graduation. At his practice in Carrollton, he can repair decayed teeth with lifelike tooth-colored fillings. If you have lost a filling, call (972) 394-1492 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dillard. You can also reach out to him via his website.