Oh no! You’re minding your own business when suddenly, you bite down and feel something shift in your tooth. A second later, you’re probing your mouth to find a dislodged dental filling.
Don’t panic. Although losing a filling is a serious matter, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The first is to call the dentist right away and set an appointment for help.
If it’s late and you can’t reach your dentist, take these steps:
1. Remove the Filling and Keep it Safe
Unlike a lost tooth, a lost filling does not need to be immersed in milk to preserve it. Simply wash it off and protect it by placing it in a Ziploc-style bag. It may or may not be reused later on.
2. Gently Clean Around the Affected Area
Carefully brush the affected tooth to remove food debris that may have become lodged in the newly-exposed material. Be very gentle at first. Avoid any areas you discover that cause pain.
3. Use Dental Cement to Secure the Hole
Most pharmacies offer several varieties of dental cement. This is usually used by placing a small ball of the cement in the hole left by the filling, then using a moist cotton swab to tamp it down. Do not use dental cement if contact with the hole in your tooth causes pain.
4. Treat Any Discomfort While You Wait
A missing filling could cause no discomfort at all or it can be very painful – especially when the nerve is exposed. You can temporarily numb the area with over the counter medication. Just remember … even if there is no pain, it’s still important to get treatment as soon as you can.
5. Avoid Worsening the Situation
Be careful about putting pressure on the damaged tooth. Try your best to chew on the opposite side of the mouth. Avoid foods, such as apples, that require you to bite down hard. This could cause additional chipping and cracking while the tooth is weakened.
6. Be Alert to Signs of an Emergency
If symptoms are mild, it is okay to wait 2-3 days for treatment. Your dentist will replace the lost filling.
Contact our after-hours emergency dental services if:
- Tooth pain becomes worse or more persistent
- The tooth sustains more damage (e.g. cracks)
- The area begins to bleed or discharges fluids