There are few things as anxiety-inducing as getting popped in the mouth and slowly raising your hand to feel if you’ve lost a tooth. But sometimes it isn’t your teeth that get knocked out, but instead, your dental fillings! This can still be a confusing and somewhat unsettling situation, and you might not be sure about how to handle it. Here’s more from your dentist in Melbourne about dental fillings and what you should do if you’ve lost one.
Why Do Dental Fillings Sometimes Fail?
Dental fillings aren’t meant to last forever, and sometimes they can fall out. A few common reasons for this include:
- Tooth decay around the filling.
- Chewing too hard.
- Biting into hard or crunchy foods.
- Bruxism (grinding and clenching your teeth).
- Trauma or injury to the tooth or root.
- A chemical reaction that loosens the filling.
What Should I Do After Losing a Dental Filling?
Losing a dental filling is technically a dental emergency—but it’s no reason to panic! But as with any dental emergency, prolonging care will only make matters worse. Call your dentist as soon as possible and explain what happened. They’ll inquire about any symptoms you’re experiencing and schedule an appointment to address the filling.
Your dentist is the best person for handling this issue, so once the appointment has been made, do your best to relax and keep your mouth clean. Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the filling was and gently rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater solution. Over-the-counter painkillers can also be taken if needed.
How Can I Take Care of My Fillings Moving Forward?
Once your dental filling has been repaired or replaced, you will want to take care of it in the future to avoid similar situations. Although there’s no surefire way to avoid the possibility of losing or damaging a filling, there’s a lot you can do to lower the chance of it happening. Most of it boils down to practicing good oral hygiene—brushing and flossing daily and using an antibacterial mouthwash. You should also regularly visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings. Even the little things, including limiting your consumption of difficult-to-chew foods and wearing a mouth guard during sports, also contribute towards keeping your dental fillings firmly in place.
Losing a dental filling can be an alarming experience, but it’s certainly not the end of the world! Knowing why it happens, what to do when it happens, and how to prevent it from happening will give your fillings the best chance to do their job and help protect your pearly whites.
About the Author
Dr. Cedric C. Chenet earned his dental doctorate from Howard University in 1982 and opened his practice in Melbourne in 2002 after serving as a dental officer in the US Air Force. His practice is proud to offer several available services including restorative dentistry options like dental fillings. If you have any questions about the article or would like to schedule a visit, you can contact Dr. Chenet’s practice online or by phone: (321) 253-3136.