You Lost A Tooth Filling – Don’t Panic! By Your Top-Rated Costa Mesa, CA, Dentist
Posted January 09, 2017 in Uncategorized
If a tooth filling falls out, it leaves behind an open hole in your tooth that can be both uncomfortable and nerve wracking. You don’t need to panic, though, because losing a dental filling is actually one of the more common dental emergencies. That means your dentist should be able to get you fixed up and back to your regular routine in no time.
What Is A Dental Filling?
A tooth filling is exactly what the name sounds like: a special material that fills in a hole in your tooth. When you have tooth decay, your Orange County, CA, dentist cleans out the damaged part of your tooth before it can spread to the other, healthy parts of your tooth. Then your dentist fills the spot where the decay used to be with your dental filling. There are a range of options for filling material, including gold, porcelain, the old-school silver amalgam (made up of mercury mixed with other materials) that so many of us have in the backs of our mouths, and the increasingly popular tooth-colored composite resin.
What Can Make A Tooth Filling Fall Out?
The material that makes up a tooth filling is strong, but that doesn’t mean it lasts forever. Dental fillings can get worn down from all the chewing you do over the years, and so they eventually need to be replaced. Usually, your Orange County, CA, dentist will identify worn fillings during your regular dental cleaning and exam, so the filling gets replaced before it gets a chance to fall out. Nevertheless, there are a variety of factors that can cause fillings to fall out unexpectedly, for example:
- New tooth decay
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Facial impact or injury
- Biting down on something very hard
My Filling Fell Out! What Do I Do?
As we’ve already said, don’t panic! Wash your hands, and then carefully check your mouth to remove the missing filling, as well as any pieces of broken tooth that may be there. Then call your Costa Mesa, CA, dental office right away. Tell the receptionist that you’ve lost a filling and need an emergency appointment. Most dentists keep emergency time slots available in their schedules for cases like this, because they know that you shouldn’t leave the sensitive underlying area of your tooth exposed. It’s important that you get your missing filling taken care of by a professional as quickly as possible.
If you have to wait before your dentist can see you, then there are a few steps you can take to avoid infection and reduce your discomfort.
- Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that has lost the filling.
- Brush the exposed tooth very gently to avoid unnecessary irritation.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water, which will both help to clean the area and also reduce pain.
- If the tooth is especially uncomfortable, you can find commercial temporary fillings at most drug stores. These are typically made of zinc oxide and can help to cover the exposed tooth until you can see your dentist. Never use an over-the-counter solution as a permanent remedy, though! These types of fillings are not designed to last, and there may still be new decay on your tooth that your dentist will need to treat.
Lost dental fillings happen all the time. Unfortunately for some of us, they can happen at the least opportune moments. But there’s no need to panic. Just keep the area clean and, most importantly, see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent infection and discomfort. If your Orange County, CA, dentist can’t provide you with a timely emergency appointment, or if you don’t currently have a dentist, then OC Healthy Smiles will be happy to fix your lost filling and get your smile back.
This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our Costa Mesa, CA, dental office would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics. Call 714.422.0596 or click here to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly, expert dentists today.