Find answers here to our most asked question: “My filling fell out. What next?”
Coronavirus (Covid-19) update:
- Because of the current pandemic, and because placing fillings creates an aerosol effect that can contribute to the spread of the virus, dentists currently need to wear full PPE for this otherwise routine treatment.
- Find out why dentists are charging an additional fee for fillings and other treatments that create an aerosol effect.
- Read our new patient journey video leaflet here.
It happens. There’s that moment when you’re chewing something and you start to wonder. What’s that? What’s in the food? And then you manage to spit out whatever it is (discreetly, because you can be sure it will happen at a meal when good manners matter). And, sure enough, you know your filling fell out. You’re certain because your tongue goes straight to the yawning hole left in your tooth.
What do I do now?
- Although your filling fell out, and it’s important to you, it’s not an emergency. Emergency care is needed for dental trauma with bleeding that won’t stop, or swelling that’s getting worse.
- We recommend you call your dentist to get your tooth seen to as soon as you can. A dentist will clean out any infection before repairing the damage.
- Until you can see your dentist, make sure you keep the tooth the filling fell out from as clean as you can manage. Rinsing with an antibacterial mouth-wash should help. Floss around it too.
What can I do about my toothache until I can see my dentist?
- Ask a pharmacist for advice on pain medication.
- Check any medication you have been prescribed, and follow the recommended dosage.
- Take care if you take non-prescription painkillers.
- Follow the instructions for use.
- Ask a healthcare professional about compatibility with other medications.
- A painkiller only disguises the problem.
- Do not rely on them, and
- Do not avoid treatment.
- Rinse the mouth often with water, or salt water. An antibacterial mouthwash may be helpful too.
- Avoid things that are very hot, cold, sweet or spicy.
- Eat soft foods to avoid pressure.
- Try some numbing gel on the gum (if there’s a chemist open).
- If you decide to place a temporary filling yourself (see our expert opinion below) they are available from your local pharmacy, or you can mail order through Amazon. Consider adding a dental inspection mirror to your order too, and some gauze dressing to help keep the site dry.
Did you know?
Advice from Dr Graham Barnby BDS, DGDP, RCS – Clinical Director of SpaDental
“When you lose a filling in a tooth, you can use a temporary filling material to tide you over. This will reduce pain when eating and stop the tongue exploring the cavity. Choose from a range of filling materials available at pharmacies. They are all like a soft putty that hardens in the mouth.
Before placing the material into the cavity, dry the area with a cotton bud to increase retention of the material in the tooth. Roll the filling material into a ball and place it in the tooth using finger pressure to mould into the cavity. This will then harden and reduce pain from hot and cold food until you get to the dentist.”
Please remember that these fillings are only temporary. Where your filling was, bacteria could be doing more damage. Make an appointment to visit your dentist as soon as possible.
Why do fillings fall out?
- However well your filling was done, it is at best only a repair. That’s why it’s important to try to keep our teeth as close to their optimum healthy condition as we can.
- With dental wear, the margins around the filling may become worn so the tooth can’t hold the filling any longer.
- Worn margins also make it possible for bacteria to get into the tooth, so there could be decay beneath the filling.
- As amalgam fillings need to have a wider space at the base than the top to stay in place, the remaining tooth is weaker and more prone to fracturing over time.
- Are you one of the heavy metal generation?
What will my dentist do as my filling fell out?
- Your dentist will examine the affected tooth, and see if there’s any further decay to treat.
- If it’s straightforward, then another filling will be placed. You can consider different filling materials and the relative costs.
- If the remaining natural tooth structure is weak, a crown may be a good solution.
- In some cases, if infection has spread into the root canal, the dentist will prepare a plan for endodontic treatment.
- When a patient agrees to an extraction, the dentist will discuss replacement choices, such as a bridge or an implant.
“Kind, understanding and efficient – With a lost filling and tooth-ache I was given an emergency appt earlier in the day. After an Xray it was decided to remove the tooth due to infection and damage. This was my decision based on information given.” SW – a SpaDental Chard patient
“Emergency appointment – I lost a filling and was given two options by my dentist – either have the molar extracted or have a crown fitted. I went for the 2nd option and am very happy with the result!” MB – a SpaDental Plymouth patient
How do I stop it happening again?
- If you attend regular appointments, your dentist will check the condition of your dental repairs.
- When your dentist spots a problem, pro-active treatment helps to prevent problems in the future. For example, your dentist may remove a worn filling and replace it before it falls out.
- A good oral hygiene routine at home helps protect your teeth and guard against tooth decay.
- Regular visits to your hygienist or therapist for professional tooth cleaning and general dental care help too.
- If you want to maintain optimum oral health, ask your dentist about becoming a “Plan Patient” to spread the cost for regular appointments over monthly payments.
People also ask:
In the news:
Views on amalgam fillings are changing. New legislation is regulating the environmental impact of all mercury.
“Having a filling – I was greeted really well as I went in the room by both the dentist and dental assistant. I was told everything that was going on and felt totally at ease from start to finish. No pain at all. Even the injections didn’t hurt. Would highly recommend this practice.” AL – a SpaDental Plymouth patient
Pages with useful information:
- White fillings
- Paying for your treatment
- Dental Emergency Plymouth
- Dental Emergency Whitchurch
- External link: antibacterial mouthwashes