At Friendly Dentistry in Greensboro, NC we get phone calls from patients who are in a panic because a filling fell out. We always instruct them to get in the office ASAP so we can repair the problem and perform a new filling procedure.
It can be scary when a filling falls out, but rule number one is don’t panic. If you notice right away that a filling fell out while you were eating, stop chewing immediately and spit the filling out. You do not want to swallow the filling whether it is a resin composite, gold filling, silver filling, or composite filling. Swallowing anything foreign is never a good idea.
Maintaining your dental health is critical to overall health. Regardless of whether your filling fell out, or you have no fillings at all, be sure to brush and floss twice a day to keep up with proper oral hygiene. Friendly Dentistry is a full-service dental practice that specializes in a wide variety of procedures. If you ever have a question about your filling, your smile, or your general oral health, be sure to contact us.
Why Your Filling Fell Out
Tooth fillings can dislodge for a variety of reasons ranging from extra vigorous flossing which has loosened the filling, to biting down hard enough to break the bond of the filling. Both metal fillings and composite filling options are meant to last about 10 years but there are a variety of factors that will affect the longevity of your filling.
When you need a filling it is typically because you have cavities. Having fillings can be restorative for a decayed tooth. Good oral hygiene is beneficial for your oral health – but sometimes over-vigorous brushing or flossing can weaken the filling.
Plaque can also be the culprit. Plaque can build up around the margins of the filling and force the filling out. Dental treatment including professional cleaning can take care of the problem.
Sometimes a filling will just fall out without any cause other than wear- and- tear. However, sometimes a filling is pushed out because the tooth, or a nearby tooth, has dental caries (cavities). It is not unheard of for a tooth that has had some dental restoration done to form another cavity.
What you need to know is that when a filling falls out, it does not mean anything too serious. You may experience some tooth pain, but it can be repaired quickly and easily by Friendly Dentistry. The most important thing you can do is call Friendly Dentistry in Greensboro NC quick because there may be other problems that caused the filling to fall out.
What To Do If Your Filling Falls Out
Preserve the filling if you can. If you cannot, that is okay, but if you can spit it out into a tissue and bring it with you to Friendly Dentistry, you should. You must have to see a dentist for an exam to evaluate your next steps. Even if you are not experiencing a toothache, you need to get your tooth checked out.
Remember to keep the area clean and avoid chewing or swishing on the affected side of your mouth. You may be able to purchase over-the-counter dental cement from your local pharmacy or healthcare store. Dental cement may fill the cavity where the missing filling is to prevent debris, bacteria, or other food particles from contaminating the tooth. Avoid using dental cement if you have sensitive teeth, or otherwise experience sensitivity when applying the cement.
If you’re experiencing discomfort, you can treat the pain with OTC pain medication or oral numbing topicals. We’d like to remind you that even if your pain goes away, you should still visit the dentist to have your dislodged filling treated.
What You Should Keep An Eye On In The Meantime
Friendly Dentistry makes every effort to get local Greensboro, NC patients in with missing fillings as soon as possible. If you need to wait a few days before your appointment, there are some things you should keep an eye on to make sure the situation doesn’t worsen. Contact Friendly Dentistry an emergency dentist if you experience anything out of the ordinary.
Such symptoms may include worsening tooth pain that isn’t easily or reasonably treated with OTC pain medication. If the tooth begins to secrete fluids or discharge – including blood – this could be a sign of potential infection. If you notice any foul-smelling odors from your mouth, be sure to mention this to your dentist immediately. Should you further crack or damage the affected tooth, take extra precautions with the area to prevent more trauma.
While unlikely, if you develop these symptoms, contact your dentist or other medical health professional immediately for professional guidance specific to you and your oral health.
Before You Get To the Dentist
If you cannot make it to the dentist as soon as the filling falls out, it is important that you take extra care with your oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene is critical while you wait to see the dentist at Friendly Dentistry in Greensboro NC.
Use a saltwater rinse at least twice a day to ensure nothing gets lodged in the tooth cavity where the filling fell out. When we see you for your appointment, we will take X-rays to determine if the filling came out because of something you ate or if there is a dental problem lurking.
In many cases, the process is simple – we just replace the filling. In other cases, there may be a dental procedure that is needed to ensure good oral health. We may decide to replace instead of repairing a damaged filling that fell out for several reasons, including how long ago your filling became dislodged. In both cases, your tooth will be restored and healthy when your visit is complete.
Can a cracked filling be repaired?
In most cases, a cracked filling can be repaired. First, we try to fix the old filling before placing it back in the tooth cavity versus replacing it altogether. But if the complete filling has to be replaced because the old one is beyond repair, we’ll talk with you and re-assess and discuss what filling material to use.
How often do fillings need to be replaced?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Your fillings could last years, or they could only last one. However, there are things you can look out for, so you know it’s time to start thinking about scheduling your next appointment.
Some signs that your filling may need to be replaced include:
- Signs of decay, which can cause further damage if it’s not treated correctly. The last thing you want is for bacteria to enter your oral system to grow and multiply before it can be stopped
- Chipping or cracking. When this happens, your fillings might fall out altogether and become a choking hazard
- A leaky filling. Sometimes it can even leave a gap in the tooth where saliva and bacteria can mix, which could create future problems down the road. It’s best to respond to leaking fillings early before they get out of hand
How much does it cost to replace a filling that fell out in Greensboro, NC?
The price to replace a filling after it fell out can vary, but it won’t ever be cheaper to fix than it is right now. The longer you wait, the more likely the damage will get worse and it’ll cost you even more to repair the damage later.
For example, if the filling falls out and there is decay underneath it to the extent that you need a root canal, the root canal itself, build up, and dental crown could cost up to $3,000. If you just need a new filling, they are typically in the several hundred dollar range to repair.
How long are fillings supposed to last?
Fillings can last for years (10 or more) but eventually, they’ll wear out their welcome. Many factors can cause a filling to need to be replaced. These include constant eating and drinking, or clenching and grinding your teeth.
How long can I wait before it needs to be replaced?
You should not wait long at all. If the tooth has been affected by decay, a dentist will need to prepare the tooth again and remove the corrosion and make a new filling to replace the old one. At Friendly Dentistry in Greensboro NC, we will get you in to see the dentist as soon as possible.
Friendly Dentistry Can Help
If you’d like more information on fillings, what you should do if your filling falls out, or you’d like to schedule your appointment, contact us. At Friendly Dentistry in Greensboro NC, we are here for all your dental needs. We need to make sure we replace the filling soon since there is a higher chance for a cavity to enlarge or an infection to spread.
Make sure you tell us you’re coming in because you lost a filling and we’ll do everything we can to get you in as soon as possible. You only get one smile, and we’re always here to help ease your mind and get your pearly whites looking fabulous again.