No filling lasts forever and regular dental visits can help determine the best time to replace them. However, a filling may fall out unexpectedly, leaving you with potential sensitivity, discomfort or pain.
A filling can fall out due to a cavity or decay under the filling; grinding or clenching teeth; chewing something beyond the strength of the tooth or filling, such as a popcorn kernel or ice; or simply because it was an older filling ready for replacement.
A call to the dentist is your first step; they will help you assess the situation. A lost filling is often not an emergency, but it’s still extremely important to be seen by your dentist as soon as possible. Meanwhile, be sure to practice excellent oral hygiene. Brush gently and carefully inside the hole where the filling was to remove all food debris. You may also rinse your mouth with warm salt water to flush food away from the unfilled tooth. Losing a filling can expose nerves, making your tooth sensitive to hot and cold. Over the counter pain medications can help, or try covering the exposed area with a temporary filling material from the drugstore until you can see your dentist at Lakeshore Dental.