Lost a Dental Filling? Here’s What to Do Next

September 8, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — Les Latner @ 7:24 pm
A man at the dentist looking at his new dental filling

Dental fillings are an easy and affordable way for your dentist to fix small cavities and keep your teeth looking great. However, they don’t last forever and may fall out before you replace them. If this happened to you today, would you know what to do?

Chances are that the exact steps would elude you, especially if panic sets in. Continue reading to learn how to deal with this situation.

Why Do Dental Fillings Fall Out?

Dental fillings are made from a hard composite resin material that bonds with your tooth and fills in small holes. Dental fillings are surprisingly sturdy when compared with other treatments like cosmetic dental bonding which uses the same material. However, there are ways it can be dislodged.

Some common reasons for fillings to fall out include:

  • Decay forming around the filling.
  • Chewing hard or crunchy foods like ice or taffy.
  • Grinding your teeth—a condition known as bruxism.
  • Physical trauma from activities like contact sports.
  • The filling has weakened from a chemical reaction.

What Can I Do Once My Filling Is Lost?

The first thing to do is take a deep breath and be calm. Losing a filling can be scary or aggravating, but it’s important to remain cool and collected so you can perform the next steps.

  • Call Your Dentist – Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. If you can’t get on their schedule right away. Some ways to protect the tooth in the meantime include chewing some sugar-free gum and putting it over the tooth or (if you have the filling) putting a small dab of toothpaste on the filling. This should hold it there temporarily.
  • Find the Filling – If your dentist can reuse the filling, they can clean it up and replace it. If you believe you swallowed it, don’t panic. Fillings should pass through your body safely.
  • Gargle With Salt Water – Salt is a natural acid inhibitor and will also fight the bacteria in plaque. This should keep the area clean and remove any food particles from the tooth. Use lukewarm water only to avoid tooth sensitivity.
  • Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene Routine – Brush and floss your teeth as normal but take care of the affected tooth. Be sure you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a light touch.
  • Avoid Hard or Chewy Food – These types of eats can irritate or even damage the area around your afflicted tooth.

Using these tips will protect your tooth until you can see your dentist. At that time, they should be able to either replace or redo your filling. Be sure to continue taking expert care of your teeth once the new filling is replaced. A thorough oral hygiene routine will increase its longevity and ensure your smile stays healthy and bright.

About the Author

Dr. Les Latner is an experienced and highly professional dentist with a genuine love for people. Dr. Latner has achieved both accreditation in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry, a distinction less than ten dentists in the US have achieved. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. To schedule an appointment at Westside Dental Associates, call (310) 765-7441 or visit the website to explore available services.

Have Questions? Get Answers.