What to Do When a Filling Goes Missing

Lost dental filling Ann Arbor MI dentists

Sometimes things happen with your smile that you weren’t intending to experience. One of those such “things” is losing a dental filling. It might be inconvenient and a little nerve wracking once you realize it’s gone, but fortunately, it can be fixed by our Ann Arbor, MI, dentists.

Keep reading to learn more about what should be done when you notice your filling has come loose.

Wait, Fillings Can Become Loose?

Yes, there are a few reasons why a filling can loosen and fall out. Many of the common causes point to the food a person consumes and how their teeth bite down when eating. Regardless of how it happens, our dentists encourage you to call us so we can resolve the issue.

Typically, fillings fall out due to:

  • New decay present around the filling
  • Harsh chewing when eating
  • Biting into very hard or crunchy foods
  • Excessive teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism)
  • Recent experienced trauma to the tooth or root
  • A chemical reaction that effectively loosens the bond of the filling to the tooth

How Serious Is Losing a Filling?

Most of the time, a lost filling is not considered a dental emergency. However, if you are experiencing pain and sensitivity around the affected tooth, it’s not something you should ignore.

Our recommendation is that you wait no longer than 3 days to see our dentists. This advice still goes even if you have mild tooth pain. Our dentists do leave time open in their schedules for urgent matters so we should be able to get you in for a visit soon after you call. Contacting us in the morning is even better.

If you wait too long and the tooth is left unprotected for more than 3 days, our dentists may have to place a dental crown. We care about your oral health and will ultimately determine what is best for you.

Recommended Next Steps

When a filling falls out, there are a few steps you can take to protect the affected tooth from decay before you’re seen by one of our dentists. First, give our Ann Arbor dental office a call and let us know what’s happened. We’ll need to know if you’re experiencing pain during this conversation.

While you wait for your appointment, we recommend that you take measures to prevent further damage. Try gargling with warm salt water for 30 seconds at a time as this can reduce pain, inflammation, and bacteria buildup in the area. You can also apply dental cement as a temporary filling, but we advise that you consult with our dentists first.

Taking over-the-counter pain medication or applying a numbing agent, like Orajel™, can also help relieve any discomfort while you wait. If you have any swelling, try using an ice pack.

What You Should NOT Do

Just as there are things you should do when a filling falls out, there are also things you should avoid. If you are reckless or wait too long to be seen, it can lead to further complications.

Our dentists all recommend against the following:

  • Waiting to make an appointment at our dental office
  • Chewing all of your food on the opposite side of the missing filling
  • Touching the affected area
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Eating hard food or chewing on ice

Preventing Future Lost Fillings

The lifespan of a filling is tied to your own actions and personal dental hygiene. If you’re not taking care of your teeth and gums, it’s likely that your filling will not last long before it falls out.

Help protect your teeth and prevent lost fillings by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. Be sure to also see our dentists for regular checkups and teeth cleanings every 6 months, or as often as directed. If you believe grinding or clenching your teeth to be an issue, we can create a custom night guard for you.

Make an Appointment

Dental fillings are built to last for years and while many do, some exit early. Our dentists in Ann Arbor, MI, are here for when that happens. Call Liberty Dental today at (734) 994-0909 to request an appointment.