Dental fillings are an incredibly common type of dental restoration used to treat cavities and decay. In fact, nearly 91% of Americans between 20 and 64 have at least one dental filling. While dental fillings are strong and can last for many, many years, there are still some things that can cause a dental filling to become loose or fall out. Here’s what to do if that happens.
Don’t Wait, Call
Before you do anything else you should call your dentist in Hagerstown. Many times our dental office will be able to see you the same day or the next day. At the appointment, you can expect to have a thorough exam of the area so your dental team can assess the damage. This allows us the opportunity to determine the best way to fix it.
What to Expect
Sometimes your dentist may recommend replacing the filling with another one. This is typically what happens if the filling was small and the damage didn’t really affect the tooth. Other times a filling just won’t get the job done and a dental crown may be recommended. Dental crowns cap the entire tooth and provide greater protection.
Do Your Part
If you lose a filling there are important steps you should take in order to protect your tooth and ease any discomfort.
- Clean the area. When a filling falls out, your tooth is left with a small hole that food and bacteria can get wedged into. If left there, it could lead to more damage. Rinse with salt water or gently brush the area after eating.
- Reduce the pain. Using pain reliever can help minimize any sensitivity and increase comfort. There are also temporary fillers available at many pharmacies. Look for one that contains zinc oxide and place it in the gap, but only temporarily.
Avoid the Problem in the First Place
While very common, there are ways you can avoid losing a filling… including choosing your snacks wisely. Many lost or loose fillings are the result of sticky foods or hidden popcorn kernels, so be sure to eat these in moderation and use caution. Tooth grinding or clenching is also a common cause of lost fillings. Make sure to use a nightguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep to protect both your dental restorations as well as your jaw health. Lastly, seeing your Hagerstown dentist every six months can help catch any loose fillings before they have a chance to fall out when you least expect it.
We’re always welcoming new patients at our dental office in Hagerstown and are here to help with any dental concern. If you’ve lost a filling or suspect you may need one, we welcome you to give us a call to schedule an appointment today.