To fill-in cavities, dentists use dental fillings to restore teeth. Sometimes, these dental fillings may become loose, or even fall out. This is probably due to decay that has formed underneath the filling, damaging the tooth, and therefore losing its tight hold on the filling.
Losing a filling can hardly be an emergency, but it can cause pain because the tissue inside the tooth is sensitive to air, pressure, and temperature. The edges are also jagged, which means there would be sharp edges that can cause cuts to the tongue.
Luckily, calling your dentist, and making an appointment early is all you need to fix it, but before that, here are some immediate steps you need to take should your filling come out.
1. Immediately remove the filling from your mouth, so you do not swallow it by accident. Swallowing will not cause too much of a problem, but accidentally breathing it into your lungs, or up in your nostrils may cause infections.
2. Call your dentist, and arrange for an immediate appointment, so that he or she can replace the filling. If you only had it placed recently, your dentist may just replace it for free.
3. Make sure to practice oral hygiene at all times to protect the area from decay and infection. Unfilled cavities can trap food and therefore, cause bacteria to build-up. Brush gently, taking extra care around the gap where the filling was located, and making sure to remove all food debris around it.
4. Make it a habit to rinse your mouth after eating with warm salt water. You can do this by mixing one teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water.
What to Do if your Tooth Gets Sensitive After the Filling Falls Out
It is common for a tooth to become sensitive after losing its filling, due to the exposed dentin tubules.
To help alleviate pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol, aspirin and Advil. Since pain is due to exposed dentin tubules, covering them with a thick wax or sugar-free gum can help.
There are also commercially made dental filling materials that you can use to fill in the gap in your tooth temporarily. A few brands include Temparin and Dentemp, and you can buy them from local drugstores. Using a wet finger, just push them into the gap, where your dental filling used to be.
Note that these temporary dental filling materials will last only for a few days, so you will still need to see your dentist as soon as possible. He or she should be able to restore or replace your lost filling, and advise you on any preventive measures you need to take from thereon. If your normal dentist is not available, then you will need to locate and contact an emergency dentist in Burke, VA for assistance.