Dental cavities may occur in any area of the tooth. The decay creates small holes in the tooth which become larger and can completely destroy the tooth if left unchecked. The treatment for dental cavities involves filling the hole with some material so that the tooth becomes whole again. The material that is used to fill the hole in the decayed tooth is called a dental filling.
Dental fillings, like all other things in the world, do not last forever. Sometimes a dental filling may fall out causing worries and discomfort to the person concerned.
Reasons why dental fillings fall out
Here are some common reasons why dental fillings may fall out.
1. Not enough time given to set the filling
When you start chewing the food from the same side where the tooth was filled with filling material, before it is well set, there are chances that the filling come loose and fall out. It is advisable to wait for at least 24 hours before you start chewing food using the treated tooth.
2. Hard and sticky foods
When you consume very sticky foods, they tend to get stuck between upper and lower teeth and trying to separate the teeth the filling may get pulled out because of force. Even hard foods can have the same effect. You have to use force to bite into hard foods which applies a force on the treated tooth, and it may cause the filling to come loose.
3. Trauma to the tooth or the root
When you fall or sustain an injury from sports or accidents, the trauma on or around the treated tooth may cause the filling to loosen and fall off.
4. Chemical reactions from foods or medicines
Dental fillings are filled with a chemical for it to get fixed in the place. Because of reactions with other chemicals that comes from the medication or foods that you eat; the filling may get undone and fall off.
5. Newly developed decay around the tooth
Sometimes the adjoining tooth develops decay and cavity which causes the filling to get loosened because of the bacterial growth next to the area of filling.
6. Bruxism or teeth grinding
The habit of teeth grind puts pressure on the filling and make it loose, and fall off.
What to do when a filling falls out
Here is what you can do if you ever have a dental filling fall out. Don’t panic. You can easily rectify the situation at a dental clinic.
Make an appointment with the dentist
The first thing to do when you realize your dental filling has fallen off is to call your dentist and ask for an appointment. If the dentist cannot see you right away, ask them how to take care of the filling and the tooth. This is to ensure that the exposed tooth does not become more susceptible to decay and cavities.
Keep the tooth safe
If the filling has become loose, it is advisable to take it out yourself so that you do not accidentally swallow it or chew on it. Whether or not you get an appointment with your dentist, you have to keep your tooth safe and protected.
Keep your filling also safe. How long you can keep your filling safe depends on the material that is used in the filling. Keeping the filling safe is important so that your dentist can and may reuse it. Also looking at the filling your dentist may be able to gauge why the filling has fallen out.
Gargle with salt water
Till you can see your dentist, it is a good idea to gargle your mouth with salt water. Keep the tooth and the area very clean. Gargling will help remove and food remnants from the tooth which may get in the cavity created by fallen off filling. It will remove bacteria if any.
Maintain dental hygiene
Dental hygiene routine should be kept in place, except that be gentle around the area of the tooth from which filling has taken off.
You can use mouth wash instead or warm water to keep the area clean and stop further growth of bacteria.
If a lot of discomfort prevents you from carrying out normal tasks you can take a pain reliever which suits you.
When the filling has loosened from a tooth where you can reach, application of a little clove oil helps relieve the pain. Clove oil has been found to relieve toothaches effectively in emergencies, till you can see your dentist.
Complications of loosened and fallen dental filling.
If the tooth remains without filling for many days, it may get exposed to decay again and put the other teeth in danger of being affected by decay and decline.
Because of the missing filling, your dentine may get exposed. Since dentine is the second layer of tooth after enamel, and softer it is more susceptible to decay.
The more time it takes to replace the filling, the more damage will be caused to the tooth. So get to a dentist quickly so the filling can be replaced at the earliest.
In the meantime, the above tips should help minimize the damage and keep the teeth safe.