Lost fillings are one of the most common reasons for visiting an emergency dentist in Clarkesville. Make no mistake; you will require dental treatment to correct this problem if it happens to you. But immediate self-care is also important. Staying calm, saving the filling if you can, and controlling pain and swelling will make the recovery process go as smoothly as possible.
What Causes Lost Fillings?
Properly placed fillings may last for many years with no trouble. Inevitably, though, many of them will come loose or even fall out. Potential causes of this issue include:
- Biting down on something hard with the filled tooth. This can dislodge the underlying material.
- Continued damage to the treated tooth from ongoing decay. This is especially common if a space forms around the filling, as bacteria may infect the gap.
- Time and the aging process. Like all parts of the human body, teeth experience a bit of normal wear and tear over the years.
What Should You Do if the Filling Comes Out?
Fortunately, almost all cases of loose or lost fillings can be treated effectively. Here are some steps to take if this problem happens to you:
- Save the filling if you can. This will help the dentist to diagnose the cause. Also, sometimes reinserting and recementing the filling is a better option than creating a new one, as the original has already adjusted itself to your tooth.
- Control any pain or swelling you may feel. Rinsing your mouth with warm water may soothe exposed nerves. Over the counter analgesics can help as well. Keeping a cold compress against the outside of your mouth is another useful idea. Follow product directions to avoid risk of frostbite.
- Eating a small piece of hard, sugar-free candy can sometimes provide short-term relief. The material from the treat can serve as a temporary filling until you get help.
- Call a dentist. As with any dental condition, prompt treatment is important both for your personal comfort and your long-term oral health.
What to Expect During the Appointment
The attending dentist will examine the tooth, perform x-rays to determine its condition, and recommend treatment options. These may include:
- Either reinserting the old filling or creating a new one.
- Extracting the tooth altogether (unlikely unless it’s is in a bad state of decay).
- Performing a root canal or embedding a cap, crown or bridge.
- Referring the case to a specialist.
Sometimes a loose filling is unavoidable. In many cases, however, the problem can be prevented by taking the following precautions:
- Brushing and flossing on a regular basis, using a fluoridated dental rinse, and seeing your dentist for checkups and cleanings.
- Avoiding sugary and starchy foods, both of which promote tooth decay.
- Eating a nutritious diet, avoiding tobacco products, and staying physically active. A healthy body promotes healthy teeth and vice-versa.
Loose and missing fillings are a part of life for most modern people. But there’s much you can do to manage the situation. Use the tips in this post when the times comes and you’ll soon find yourself smiling again.
About the Author
Dr. Lauren Nichols attended the University of Tennessee at Memphis. She’s a proud member of the American Dental Association and the Arkansas Dental Association. You can reach her office online or by calling (479) 754-3357.