It’s true, dental fillings unfortunately do not last forever. Though they are applied in such a way that ensures they stay put for many years, life happens, and they still can come loose. If you’ve recently had a filling fall out, it’s important not to panic. Our Hudsonville dentists recommend calling our dental office and having the filling replaced as soon as possible. We will do our best to alleviate any pain you’re feeling and have you on your way in a short period of time. In the meantime, there are things you can do (and not do) at home while you wait for care. Here is what you need to know so you can act appropriately when a filling falls out. Why a Filling May Come Loose There are a few reasons why a filling can loosen and fall out. Many of the common causes point to the food a person consumes and how their teeth bite down when eating. Regardless of how it happens, our dentists encourage you to call us so we can resolve the issue. A filling can fall out if: \tThere is new decay present around the filling \tYou’re chewing too hard when eating \tYou’re biting into very hard or crunchy foods \tYou’re excessively grinding your teeth (bruxism) \tYou’ve recently experienced trauma to the tooth or root \tThere is a chemical reaction that effectively loosens the bond of the filling to the tooth Is it Serious? Most of the time, a lost filling is not considered a dental emergency. However, if you are experiencing pain and sensitivity around the affected tooth, it’s not something you should ignore. Our recommendation is that you wait no longer than 3 days to see our dentists. This advice still goes even if you have mild tooth pain. Our dentists do leave time open in their schedules for urgent matters so we should be able to get you in for a visit soon after you call. If you wait too long and the tooth is left unprotected for more than 3 days, our dentists may have to place a dental crown. We care about your oral health and will ultimately determine what is best for you. Next Steps to Take When a filling falls out, there are a few steps you can take to protect the affected tooth from decay before you’re seen by one of our dentists. First, give our Hudsonville dental office a call and let us know what’s happened. We’ll need to know if you’re experiencing pain during this conversation. While you wait for your appointment, we recommend that you take measures to prevent further damage. Try gargling with warm salt water for 30 seconds at a time as this can reduce pain, inflammation, and bacteria buildup in the area. You can also apply dental cement as a temporary filling, but we advise that you consult with our dentists first. Taking over-the-counter pain medication or applying a numbing agent, like Orajel™, can also help relieve any discomfort while you wait. If you have any swelling, you can use an ice pack. What Not to Do Just as there are things you should do when a filling falls out, there are also things you should avoid. If you are reckless or wait too long to be seen, it can lead to further complications. Our dentists all recommend against the following if you have a missing filling: \tWaiting to make an appointment at our dental office \tChewing all of your food on the opposite side of the missing filling \tTouching the affected area \tClenching or grinding your teeth \tEating hard food or chewing on ice How to Prevent Lost Fillings The lifetime of a filling is tied to your own actions and personal dental hygiene. If you’re not taking care of your teeth and gums, it’s likely that your filling will not last long before it falls out. Help protect your teeth and prevent lost fillings by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. Be sure to also see our dentists for regular checkups and teeth cleanings every 6 months, or as often as directed. If you believe grinding or clenching your teeth to be an issue, we can create a custom night guard for you. Our Dentists Can Help Loose or lost fillings happen. Fortunately, our family dentists in Hudsonville, MI, can replace the filling for you and alleviate any pain that arises. Call Hudsonville Dental today at (616) 209-4024 to make an appointment.