Everyone who has fillings hopes they never feel the following sensation. Imagine you feel a sudden crack and you shudder in horror once you realize your filling just fell out. What are you supposed to do?
First thing’s first, remember to stay calm and don’t panic. Losing a filling may seem like a traumatic experience, but it’s not uncommon. It happens to the best of us now and then. While fillings are meant to last approximately ten years, they can sometimes loosen up from the occasional use or extra wear and tear.
The most important thing to do is realize that this is a common problem, and you do have options. You should never wait to make an appointment with your dentist because you don’t know what underlying problems exist under the filling. You’ll save money in the long run if you see a dentist sooner rather than later.
What To Do If Your Filling Falls Out
The No. 1 thing you should do is to remove the filling if you can. If your filling fell out, get it out of your mouth as soon as possible. Chewing down on it will damage your teeth and also cause you discomfort. You also don’t want to take any chances and risk swallowing it.
If you can’t save the filling, don’t worry. It’s useful if you can, but it’s not necessary.
The next thing you should do is call and schedule an appointment with your local dentist right away to make sure the tooth isn’t infected, or there aren’t other problems you should be aware of. The dentist can find open margins or uneven wear before you realize there may even be an issue.
Dental visits can also give you a refresher course in proper oral hygiene to help you control bacterial plaque, one of the leading causes of tooth decay. If you have too much built up, it can form around the margin of a filling and compromise its restoration.
Also, make sure you clean your teeth.
You’ll want to keep your teeth very clean between the time your filling fell out and your scheduled dentist cleaning. Try swishing with warm salt water to make sure your damaged tooth and gums stay in pristine condition.
We’ll thoroughly assess the situation once you’re in the office. We’ll take an X-ray to get a better idea of why your filling fell out, and we’ll also evaluate the status of your tooth and gums.
Sometimes the process is as simple as replacing the filling, which we can typically do for you during the same visit. In some cases, however, more treatment is needed to stabilize the tooth and prevent future emergencies. However, no matter what, the result will be a robust and healthy tooth that will last.
In most cases, a cracked filling can be repaired. First, we will 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 and grow and multiply before it can be stopped.
Chipping or cracking. When this happens, your fillings might come off 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?
The price to replace a filling after it fell out can vary, but it won’t ever be cheaper to fix it than it is right now. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the damage will get worst and you’ll need to fork over even more money 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 typically range from several hundred dollars to repair.
How long are fillings supposed to last?
Fillings can last for years, 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 doctor will need to prepare the tooth again and remove the corrosion and make a new filling or crown to replace the old one.
We Can Help
If you’d like more information on fillings, what you should do if your filling fell out, or you’d like to schedule your appointment, give Friendly Dentistry a call today (336) 272-4595. 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.
Our staff can also give you some tips and tricks on how to take care of your fillings so you get the most life you can out of them. We’ll share with you what foods and drinks you should try to stay away from and also make sure you know all the latest hygiene habits, so your fillings are never at risk again.