Dental fillings are commonly placed in patients' mouths when decay is present. Fillings allow dentists to fill the gap left behind when tooth enamel is removed in order to treat cavities. Ordinarily, fillings are meant to last a lifetime. They're made from durable composite resin or amalgam. Unfortunately, sometimes fillings can loosen and fall out on their own. If your filling falls out, here are four things you should do:
1. Save your filling.
If you're able to keep the filling that fell out, you should do so. It may give your dentist some extra information that will come in handy during your treatment. Your dentist will be able to make sure the piece that fell out was only your filling and not also a part of your tooth. Keep your filling in a zip-top plastic bag or in a small container where it won't easily be lost.
2. Schedule an appointment with your dentist.
You should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you realize your filling fell out. While this isn't a dental emergency as long as you're not experiencing pain, it's better to have the problem fixed as soon as possible. Describe your situation to your dentist as thoroughly as possible when making your appointment.
3. Protect your tooth.
Without a filling in place, your tooth will be weakened and more prone to breakage. Until you can see your dentist, you should take care to treat your tooth gently. Avoid chewing on the affected side of your mouth. If the edges of your tooth are sharp, you may want to place dental wax into the gap to soften them. This can help you avoid cutting your cheek or tongue on the protruding parts of your tooth.
4. Have your filling replaced.
At your dental appointment, your dentist will thoroughly clean your tooth to ensure all bacteria are removed from its surface. Next, they will replace your filling. If you had a dark-colored amalgam filling before, this is an excellent time to switch to a tooth-colored alternative.
5. Consider a dental crown.
Large fillings are less stable than smaller fillings. If the filling that fell out of your tooth was particularly large, it's more likely to happen again. If you want to better protect your tooth, you should consider getting a dental crown. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that fits over your natural tooth. The most commonly used dental crowns are the same color as your natural teeth. A crown ensures that your filling will not fall out again, so you won't have to go through this experience twice.