Why Your Tooth Filling Fell Out & What to Do Next

A woman who's tooth filling fell out of her mouth

If a tooth filling fell out of your mouth, you’ll often know it. The pain can often be excruciating on the newly exposed area of your teeth. But don’t worry – while a lost filling is something you’ll want to get quick treatment for, it’s not typically a sign of any major disasters in your mouth.

Read on to learn what caused your tooth filling to fall out, and what you can do to restore your oral health.

Why Your Tooth Filling Fell Out

The first thing to understand with dental fillings is that they’re not “permanent” solutions. While a dental filling will last a long time in most cases, they will eventually wear out or fall out of place. There are a lot of specific causes of a tooth filling falling out of your mouth, such as:

Increased Decay – If you received a filling on a tooth to repair decay, but new decay has grown around the filling, then it could loosen the filling’s placement enough for it to fall out on its own.

Clenching or Grinding – People often clench or grind their teeth under stress or even when they sleep. If you’re regularly performing either of these actions, you may be damaging your teeth and any fillings inside them, which can cause them to pop out.

Eating Hard Foods – Everything from almonds to ice cubes can often be hard enough that the pressure to bite through them causes trauma to your teeth. In small quantities this isn’t usually an issue, but sometimes all it takes is a hard bite in the wrong spot to crack a tooth or filling.

Direct Injury – Unsurprisingly, a direct hit to your tooth or mouth can cause enough impact to damage the tooth or filling, which can lead to a tooth filling falling out.

What to Do When Your Tooth Filling Fell Out

The first thing you should do when a filling falls out is to take care not to swallow it. If it was obvious that you lost a filling, especially when eating, always make sure to spit out the food you were eating. It’s not a major risk, so if it happens there’s no need to worry. But it’s best to avoid swallowing your filling when possible!

Following that, you’ll want to make a dental appointment as soon as possible. While a dental filling falling out won’t likely put you at significant risk, it does expose your tooth to a lot of bacteria. When fillings are prepared, parts of your tooth are cleaned out to prepare for the filling. When it falls out of place, that area of your tooth is now open and vulnerable.

Realistically, you can wait a few days before making it to an appointment without much concern. But the sooner the better for your general health. Of course, if your exposed cavity is causing discomfort or major pain, you’ll want to try to get in as soon as possible.

What You Can Do About Painful Lost Fillings

In some cases, a lost filling can make it unbearable to do anything like eating or drinking. Even room temperature liquids or foods can cause a spike in pain that’s physically debilitating. When this happens, there are a few things you can do:

Try Pain Medications – Over the counter pain medications like ibuprofen can help reduce or eliminate discomfort temporarily while you await your dentist appointment

Dental Wax – Drug stores often carry dental wax that you can use to safely shape around your lost filling to protect the area. Dental wax isn’t a permanent solution, but it is one that can quickly and easily save you from the sharp pains of contact with the exposed area.

Warm Salt Rinse – If you’re worried about bacteria, a warm saltwater rinse is a good way to protect your exposed tooth. Of course, if this causes any significant pain, it’s not a necessity, so don’t force yourself to rinse if it hurts.

What Are the Risks of Leaving a Tooth with a Lost Cavity?

If you aren’t experiencing pain, it’s not unheard of for some people to consider leaving it be. This is not a safe option! While a few days of an exposed tooth won’t be a major risk, the longer bacteria has to set into this new cavity, the more likely you are to develop an infection. Dental infections are no laughing matter. They can lead to severe dental trauma and even spread to nearby areas in your head, which might hospitalize you.

No matter how insignificant the lost filling may seem, it’s always at least a minor dental emergency! Contact us right away and we’ll do what we can to make sure you’re seen as soon as possible.

Do You Have Dental Health Questions? Schedule an Appointment!

If you have dental health concerns or are just looking for information, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.

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