Dental fillings are commonly used to treat small holes or cavities in the teeth. During a routine filling, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill the space with a filling material, such as silver amalgam, gold, porcelain, or composite resin.
According to Carmem Pfeifer, D.D.S., Ph.D., author of studies published in Scientific Reports and Dental Materials, modern dental restorations generally last between seven and 10 years before ultimately failing.
Having a filling fall out is not a cause for panic. Simply contact your dentist in Clermont to have the filling repaired or replaced. There are also some things you can do at home to make yourself more comfortable as you wait for your appointment. Learn more about what causes fillings to fall out and what to do if this happens to you.
What Causes Fillings to Fall Out?
Fillings can become loose or fall out when the seal between the filling and the tooth breaks. Once this seal is broken, the tooth becomes a gateway for bacteria and debris to enter the space behind the filling. As this space cannot be reached with a toothbrush, the rate of decay increases.
There are several factors that can influence the lifespan of a dental filling, including:
- Size. If you have a larger cavity, you likely have a large filling which means more exposure to bacteria in the mouth. Teeth that have large cavities tend to be weaker and may not support a filling for as long as a tooth with a small filling.
- Age. Over time, old fillings will often begin to wear down, chip, or crack.
- Oral hygiene habits. If you develop tooth decay that is not promptly treated, the decay can affect an existing filling.
- Clenching or grinding. People who clench or grind their teeth may experience filling failure more often than people who don’t clench or grind.
- Type of filling material. There are several types of filling materials with varying amounts of strength. Silver amalgam fillings tend to be more durable than composite fillings.
What To Do About a Lost Dental Filling
If your filling falls out, you may notice some discomfort or sensitivity. Some people may not have any symptoms but require prompt dental care regardless. As soon as you notice that you have lost your filling, contact your dentist. Many local dentists set aside a small window of time each day to deal with urgent dental situations.
If you are not able to get to the dentist right away, use precautions at home. If the filling is only loose, know that it could wiggle its way out, causing a potential choking hazard. To protect your health while you wait for your appointment, brush your teeth gently and rinse your mouth with water. Avoid chewy or sugary foods which can become lodged in the filling area. Also, be cautious with hot or cold foods which can cause increased sensitivity.
Once you arrive at your dental office, your dentist will examine your tooth and determine if it can be repaired. Your dentist may recommend amalgam for back teeth like molars and premolars or composite resin for front teeth like incisors and canines. Composite fillings are recommended for front teeth as they are white and blend with your natural teeth.
If there is nerve exposure due to a deep cavity or trauma, your dentist may recommend a root canal and crown. A root canal is often used when the tooth cannot be saved with a regular filling due to the severity of the damage. If the damage is too severe, the only option may be an extraction of the tooth.
Contact Hancock Village Dental Today
If you are experiencing a loose or lost filling, our team of dental professionals can help. Contact Hancock Village Dental today at 352-989-5815 to schedule an appointment.