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What to do when your dental fillings fall out

Dental fillings are used to help treat cavities and stop the decay from advancing to other parts of the teeth.

Why do you need dental filling?

Teeth are mainly composed of calcium besides many other elements. When the body is deficient in calcium, the teeth becomes cavity prone.

Improper brushing and flossing results in food particles or sticky foods remain in contact with the teeth for long periods of time which causes bacteria to eat away the food on your teeth. This releases toxins and acids which dissolve the teeth enamel causing the teeth to lose its bright white colour and looking yellow or brown, or even black. If not treated, the tooth will decay and produce a cavity.

What is dental filling?

Dental filling is the substance that is filled in the cavity created by dental decay. The dentist has to remove the decayed part of the tooth. The part that the decay occupied has to be refilled with a suitable substance.

Fillings are used for other dental problems too. Teeth sometimes break for various reasons including accidents apart from decay for which fillings are needed. Many kinds of cracks in the teeth are also repaired with fillings. Nail biting or teeth grinding are also reasons for which fillings have to be used.

How are fillings inserted into the cavity?

The whole procedure of putting fillings in the cavity depends on many factors.

First of all, the dentist will ascertain the extent of decay. The amount of decay and the area where the decay has occurred will decide what and how much filling is required to treat the tooth. The dentist will have to remove the decay and clean the cavity of bacteria and debris. Sometimes, the dentist will put in a liner made of resin or glass ionomer to protect the root, if the cavity is very close to the root. Usually local anaesthetic is used to numb the area around the decayed tooth. Specific instruments are used to remove the decay based on the training of the dentist as well as the amount of decay to be removed and the location of the decayed tooth.

After the removal of the decay, the filling material which matches in colour with your teeth, is applied in layers. The filling material is then hardened with a light layer after layer. After the completion of the layering, the dentist will trim and polish the filling to align with the tooth.

There are multiple choices of filling material available to us today. Gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, plastic, and glass material are among fillings that can be used according to the requirement of individual. The choice of material depends on the cost, the location of the decay, and the dentist’s preference among other things.

After the dentist fills out the cavities, the tooth becomes as good as normal, allowing eating and chewing normally. There is no pain or sensitivity after the filling. The fillings are almost permanent if taken proper care like regular brushing and flossing.

Reasons for dental fillings to fall out

  • When new cavity develops in or around the filling, it becomes loose and falls out.
  • When cavity develops under the filling, without a solid surface to rest on, the filling falls out.
  • Not enough bonding has occurred between the filling with the tooth, after placing the filling in the tooth.
  • Vigorous flossing – the filling that is not fixed properly sometimes fall out with flossing.
  • Strain on the teeth – the mouth is used almost constantly, in changing temperatures like hot coffee and tea and ice cold drinks.  Chewing is a strenuous exercise for the teeth.
  • Even with cleaning the tooth decay sometimes, the decay occurs underneath the filling.
  • Natural wear and tear. Like everything under the sun, the filling also experiences wear and tear.

Due to these reasons, sometimes fillings get loosened and fall out. When this happens it is painful, because the tooth tissue gets exposed and get sensitive to pressure.

The signs of fillings falling out

Increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods, sudden pain in the tooth, sudden realization of a crack or a hole in the tooth and a feeling of a hard substance in the moth.

What to do when your dental filling falls out

It is quite a shocking experience when your filling falls out, but it is not considered an emergency. But it has to be addressed quickly as soon as possible.

But after the initial shock, do not panic. Stay calm. Remember this is common. And treatment options are available.

The first thing you should do is to call your dentist, and arrange for an early appointment.

Before doing anything else with the mouth, carefully take out the displaced filling.

Keep the area clean, by flossing and brushing, even though it will be painful. It is needed to prevent further decay and infection.

Avoid chewing from the side where the filling has fallen out.

If the sensitivity to air is painful then you may fill the cavity temporarily with a sugar-free chewing gum or dental cement so that your tooth tissue is not fully exposed and it will give you temporary relief till you see the dentist.

You can apply clove oil to numb your tooth and surrounding area to lessen the pain, after cleaning and gently brushing the area from where the filling has fallen out. Clove oil lessens some discomfort.

Salt water rinse also helps prevent pain and keep the area clean.

You can take over the counter pain relief medication to relieve the pain.

When you are getting the fillings put on, you can ask your dentist about what to do if your filling comes undone again some other day.

Just go in for the appointment and your filling will be put back in place. Remember not to ignore the filling falling out because the hollow area will be more susceptible to decay. Stay calm and get it fixed at your dental clinic at the earliest.

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