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While most fillings are made with longevity in mind, they won’t last forever. So, you shouldn’t worry too much if your filling falls out. However, there are things you should do if your filling happens to fall out. We will be discussing those things today.
And, if you’re looking to get dental fillings, you can find out more here. After all, the best way to treat a tooth filling on the loose is to replace it with a new one. So, without further ado, let’s get into the subject matter.
Why Did My Cavity Filling Fall Out?
There are many reasons a cavity filling may fall out and many things that could cause it to do so. Here are some of the most common reasons why your cavity filling may have fallen out:
- There may be new decay around the area of the filling;
- You chewed too hard;
- You were biting too hard;
- Teeth grinding (bruxism);
- A chemical reaction loosened the filling bond;There might have been trauma to the tooth or root.
Steps to Take If Your Filling Fell Out: Temporary Fix
If your filling falls out or comes loose, it’s important to handle the matter properly. These include some of the steps that you can take:
- Contact your dentist — Calling your dentist and scheduling an appointment as soon as possible is a great first step. A filling gone loose isn’t a dental emergency. However, it can be a problem, and it’s best dealt with in time.
- Don’t dispose of the filling — If you still have the filling, don’t throw it away. You should bring it along to your dentist appointment so that the dentist can determine if it’s reusable.
- Gargle salt water — To clean the filling area and eliminate possible food debris, you should gargle with salt water. You can mix ½ of a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water. Then, simply gargle for a couple of seconds. That will help with getting read of bacteria that might pose a threat to your exposed tooth.
- Brush the area gently — You should brush the filling area gently with your toothbrush to maintain your dental routine.
- Don’t chew on the exposed area — You should refrain from chewing on the area with the exposed tooth.
- Put dental wax on the area — Most pharmacies carry dental wax and temporary filling materials, but you can also get it online. It is a good way to protect your exposed tooth as you wait for your dentist appointment.
What to Do If You’re In Pain?
A missing tooth filling leaves your tooth exposed, which can sometimes lead to pain. Here are a few things you can do to relieve the pain at home:
- Take ibuprofen or another over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Put a cold compress or ice pack over the side of your face where the filling area is. Keep it there for 10–15 minutes to reduce the swelling and pain.
- Put clove oil over the exposed area. You can buy clove oil at a pharmacy or online and even use an actual clove.
- Use a topical numbing agent, such as Orajel or Anbesol, to temporarily numb the area and relieve pain.
Can a Loose Filling Cause Problems?
So, can a loose filling be the cause of complications? Well, yes. If you leave the loose filling unreplaced for several days, it can gradually damage the unprotected tooth. That is because food debris and bacteria can find their way into the vacant space and cause decay. Plus, the missing filling will leave the dentin exposed. Unlike hard enamel, dentin is softer and succumbs to decay more easily, and it’s also very sensitive, which may cause it to hurt.
The longer you leave the tooth exposed, the more repair it will need, so make sure to take care of your missing filling on time.
What Is the Typical Lifetime of a Tooth Filling?
How long does a tooth filling last? And how do you know if yours is gone too soon? Well, to be honest, it all depends. There are several factors that can influence the longevity of your tooth filling, such as your dental hygiene and the material your filling is made from.
It should go without saying, but if you maintain your dental hygiene well and visit your dentist often enough, your tooth fillings will last longer.
There is another factor that may influence the longevity of your tooth fillings, and that’s size. The larger the fillings are, the shorter they last. That is because the bigger the filling is, the more chewing stress it takes. So, the general consensus is that larger fillings don’t last as long as smaller ones.
Lastly, let’s cover the material aspect. Depending on the material from which your filling was made, its longevity will vary. For example, amalgam fillings last from 5 to 25 years, which is a very long timeframe. Composite ones will last you from 5–15 years, and gold fillings last the longest, from 15 to up to 30 years.
How to Prevent Filling From Falling Out?
It’s better to prevent a problem than to treat it. Luckily there are many things you can do to extend the lifetime of your tooth filling. So, here are some tips that can help you improve your oral hygiene and keep your fillings in place.
- Brush your teeth at least twice each day, and make sure to use fluoride toothpaste;
- Floss every day;
- Brush your tongue;
- Make sure to replace your toothbrush every 3–4 months;
- Visit your dentist regularly;
- Refrain from grinding teeth. This might be a problem for some people who grind their teeth while sleeping. However, there are remedies for this, and you can also wear a splint or a mouth guard;
- Refrain from chewing on hard objects;
- Be careful when biting into harder foods;
- Don’t clench your teeth;
- Try to stay away from sticky and sugary foods;
- If you notice any changes regarding your cavity filling, see a dentist.