When you have a cavity, your dentist needs to remove the decayed portion of your tooth using a drill. This keeps the decay from spreading and causing you pain. After decayed enamel and tooth dentin is drilled away, it is filled with an amalgam or resin composite filling. Ideally, that filling will stay in place permanently. Unfortunately, accidents or new decay can cause dental fillings to fall out. If your filling gets dislodged, it's important that you do these four things:
1. Call your dentist as soon as possible.
As soon as you notice that your filling has fallen out, you'll need to contact your dentist. Making an appointment as soon as possible can help prevent new damage to your teeth. Most family dentists are happy to see their patients on short notice when they're having a dental emergency. Call your dentist's office, even if it's outside of normal business hours. Your dentist may have a private number that patients dental emergencies can call. If they don't, leave a message at their office instead.
2. Take the precautions your dentist prescribes.
If you're able to get your dentist on the phone, they can offer advice to keep you comfortable until you can have your filling replaced. Your dentist may recommend purchasing dental wax from the drug store. Dental wax can be used to fill in the gap left by your filling. This can protect your tongue from getting cut on the sharp edges of your tooth. If you're experiencing pain and sensitivity, your dentist may recommend that you use an oral analgesic to numb the pain.
3. Modify your eating habits.
Keep eating and snacking to a minimum until you can see your family dentist. When a filling falls out, your tooth is left vulnerable. Chewing on that tooth could cause pain or injury. If you must eat, stick to soft foods like smoothies, applesauce, and yogurt. To the best of your ability, chew on the opposite side of your mouth. You may want to avoid foods with extreme hot or cold temperatures during this time since these temperatures can exacerbate excess tooth sensitivity.
4. Have your filling replaced.
When you see your family dentist, they will examine the area where your filling used to be. They may want to take additional x-rays to check for cavities. If no decay is present, your dentist will clean your tooth and replace the filling. You can choose to forgo local anesthesia if you prefer, especially if your dentist doesn't plan to do additional drilling.