Tooth Filling Fell Out? Here’s What to Do

Animated image showing a magnifying glass looking for tooth decay

Tooth Filling Fell Out? Here's What to Do

Have you ever been enjoying a meal only to feel that unexpected crunch that isn’t from your food—a tooth filling fell out? It’s a moment that can bring on anxiety and a flurry of questions about what to do next. In this post, we’re diving into the world of dental mishaps to bring you peace of mind and practical steps to take when you encounter this common dental dilemma. Sit tight as we explore how to protect your oral health and navigate the journey back to a flawless smile, ensuring that a loose filling becomes nothing more than a brief interlude in your life’s story. Perfect Smiles Dental is the dentist in Danville, VA, that is here to help with your dental emergencies. Call us for an appointment!

What Causes Fillings to Fall Out?

Fillings, commonly used to restore the integrity and function of a tooth damaged by decay, play a crucial role in dental health. However, despite advancements in dental materials and techniques, fillings are not permanent and may eventually fall out. Various factors can contribute to the loosening or dislodging of a dental filling, and understanding these can help in prolonging their lifespan. Here are some common causes of fillings falling out:

  • Material issues: filling materials can last for many years but may weaken, crack, or corrode over time.
  • Tooth decay: bacteria can infiltrate the margins between the filling and tooth enamel, compromising the seal
  • Chewing Hard Foods or Objects: accidentally biting down on something hard, such as candy, ice, popcorn kernels, or non-food objects, can dislodge a filling
  • Bruxism (Teeth Grinding): for those who grind their teeth during sleep, the additional stress can lead to fillings cracking or chipping away
  • Injury or Trauma: Any direct blow to the mouth or a fall can damage both teeth and fillings.
  • Underfilling: Not filling the cavity completely could result in a weak structure prone to breakage.
  • Overfilling: A filling that is too high can interfere with the bite and become a point of excessive pressure, leading to dislodgment.

What Should You Do If Your Filling Falls Out?

First and foremost, it’s important not to panic. If you notice a loss of filling, try to assess whether there’s pain or sensitivity to temperature, which could inform the urgency of care needed. Once you realize a filling has fallen out, your primary goal should be to protect the tooth. Without a filling, the tooth is more vulnerable to elements including bacteria, pressure, and potentially harmful temperatures. It is advised to avoid eating on the side of the mouth with the missing filling to prevent any further damage to the area. Additionally, try to steer clear of extremely hot or cold beverages or foods, as the exposed tooth might be especially sensitive.

Until you get an appointment with your dentist, you can make a temporary fix to protect the affected tooth. Over-the-counter dental cement or temporary filling materials, like dental wax, can be purchased at most pharmacies. These can be used to cover the opening and protect the tooth from further damage. It’s important to strictly follow the product’s instructions and keep in mind that these are short-term fixes. Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial after a filling falls out. You should keep the area clean to prevent infection. Gently brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush and rinsing with saltwater can help to keep the area free of food particles and bacteria. However, be cautious and gentle to avoid causing any irritation.

Contact Perfect Smiles as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. Most dental offices will treat this as an emergency and try to fit you in quickly. When you speak to our staff, describe the situation clearly, offer information about any pain or sensitivity you’re experiencing, and ask for any additional advice on what to do until your appointment.

What to Do If You’re in Pain When Your Tooth Filling Falls Out?

If you’re experiencing pain, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help. However, please do not place aspirin or any painkiller directly against the gums near the aching tooth, as this could burn the gum tissue. If you also have intense pain, swelling, fever, or signs of infection, you may need to seek immediate care at an emergency service if a dentist isn’t available. Even if your tooth filling fell out and you have no pain, it is critical to schedule a dental visit without delay.

Cartoon tooth surrounded by dental tools

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Tooth Filled?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cost of a tooth filling without considering the factors above, but here are some general estimates:

  • Amalgam Fillings: These might range from $50 to $150 for one to two teeth and up to $120 to $300 for three or more surfaces.
  • Composite Resin Fillings: Usually a bit more expensive, these can cost from $90 to $250 for one to two teeth and between $150 to $450 for three more surfaces.
  • Gold or Porcelain Fillings: These are generally the most expensive, sometimes costing upward of $250 to $4,500 per tooth, depending on the complexity and size of the filling.

Perfect Smiles Dental will bill your dental insurance and coverage may vary. Contact us today for a custom quote!

How Long Can You Wait If a Filling Falls Out?

Ideally, you should seek dental attention as soon as possible, preferably within a few days. Although it might not be an immediate emergency that requires waking a dentist in the middle of the night, it shouldn’t be put off for weeks either. Prompt action can prevent complications such as pain, further decay, or the need for a more extensive procedure, such as a root canal or crown.

What To Expect At Your Dental Appointment

If you have a tooth filling that fell out, we will follow some general steps. First, we will conduct an evaluation to determine the best treatment. After consulting with you, we will determine when and how your treatment will be completed. We always aim to be timely and attuned to our patients’ needs. At Perfect Smiles, our commitment to your dental well-being is second to none. Reach out to Perfect Smiles now to start your journey towards optimal dental health. Facing a dental crisis? Don’t hesitate—our emergency dental clinic is available around the clock, providing the urgent care you require. Your family’s dental health is our pride and priority, and we’re eager to help you achieve the dazzling smile you deserve! Call us at Perfect Smiles; we’re here for you.

Cutaway model showing the insides of a tooth


How long do tooth fillings last?

The durability of tooth fillings can vary significantly based on several factors such as the material used, the size and location of the filling, the patient’s oral hygiene habits, and their biting force.

  • Amalgam Fillings: Often referred to as “silver” fillings, amalgam has been used for over a century. These fillings can last about 10 to 15 years on average, owing to their impressive strength and durability, especially in the back teeth which endure the force of chewing.
  • Composite Fillings: Composite fillings, made of a resin and plastic material that matches the color of teeth, are highly aesthetic and can bond directly to the tooth surface. They may need to be replaced depending on the patient’s oral hygiene.
  • Gold Fillings: Gold fillings are less common due to their higher cost but are extremely durable. With proper care, a gold filling can last 20 years or longer.

How many times can a tooth be filled?

Technically, there is no definitive limit to how many times a tooth can be filled; however, the answer isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. The number of times a tooth can be refilled depends on several factors, such as the size and location of the cavity, the material used for the filling, and the overall oral hygiene of the patient.

Can a cracked filling be replaced?

The good news is that yes, a cracked filling can be replaced. Dental technology and practices have evolved to offer solutions that not only repair the damage but also often enhance the strength and appearance of your tooth. Perfect Smiles Dental is ready to help with your dental issues from tooth extractions to filling replacements in Danville VA.. Call Perfect Smiles today (434)799-0120 to get an evaluation!

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