What to Do if a Filling Falls Out

You’re out to dinner with a group of friends when you sink your teeth into a meal that’s tasty and delicious. All of a sudden, you’re struck by the notion that something inside your mouth just doesn’t feel right. You use your tongue to explore and soon arrive at the horrifying realization that one of your cavity fillings seems to have gotten loose and fallen out. You spit out the filling, wrap it in a napkin, and panic. It’s late at night, and there’s no way you’ll be able to make it to the dentist’s office until morning. What are you supposed to do?

While having a filling fall out can be fairly uncomfortable, it’s important to take a deep breath and realize that this sort of thing happens from time to time. Additionally, while a lost filling is certainly not something that you’ll want to ignore, you should know that waiting overnight will probably not hurt you in the long run.

Dr. Joseph Pizzarello is a dentist at Pizzarello and Silvestro Family Dentistry, a Stoneham, Massachusetts office whose services range from simple fillings to tooth restoration, and according to him, there are a number of reasons why fillings tend to fall out. Sometimes, biting down on harder foods (such as bagels and candy) can cause a filling to come loose. Other times, the presence of newly developed decay in the area surrounding the filling can result in it falling out.

If your filling falls out at a time in which you can’t simply drop what you’re doing and get to the dentist right away, then you’ll need to do your best to keep the exposed tooth clean until you’re able to have your appointment. If possible, chew on the other side of your mouth and keep food away from the affected tooth. You should also avoid gummy or overly-sticky foods because if they manage to work their way into the problem area, they could worsen the situation.

If your filling falls out at a point in which you notice it right away, then try not to swallow it. In fact, you should bring your filling with you to the dentist’s office so that he can take a look and try to figure out what caused it to fall out in the first place.

As important as it is to stay calm when you lose a filling, you don’t want to make the mistake of putting off that dental appointment to have your tooth fixed. Remember, once that filling comes out, your tooth is exposed to the dangers of further decay. If left untreated, an unfilled tooth can become the subject of a costly and complicated root canal. So rather than put yourself in the position of having to undergo extra dental procedures, do the smart thing by going to the dentist right away. Besides, the sooner you get your tooth taken care of, the sooner you’ll be able to get back to normal.

*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

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