One of the more common dental emergencies is a filling that is lost by the patient. There can be various reasons why a filling can come out.
What is the possible cause of a displaced filling and what should you do when it happens
A dental filling when properly placed is designed to withstand a great amount of pressure for a long time. Although rare, a filling can come out of a tooth for various reasons. One of the most common is decay under a filling. An older filling can change shape and create gaps between the filling and the tooth. This allows bacteria and food byproducts to get under the filling which over time causes tooth decay. When tooth structure is destroyed there is no solid support for the filling. This leads to loosening of the filling and eventual displacement. Another reason for filling displacement can be breakage of a supporting wall of a tooth. This is more common with silver amalgam fillings since there is no bond formation between the tooth and the filling. A tooth that has displaced a filling can be sensitive, usually to cold, or asymptomatic.
What should you do when you displace a filling. Seeing a dentist is the best option. It is not normal for a filling to come out of a tooth. The condition should be addressed as soon as possible. If not taken care of in a timely manner the condition will worsen and can lead to the need for root canal treatment or eventual tooth loss.
If you cannot get to a dental office and the tooth is asymptomatic, you can but don’t have to place the temporary filling. Chew with the other side and clean out any debris from the cavity where the filling used to be as needed. See a dentist asap.
If you cannot get to a dentist and the tooth is sensitive a temporary filling can be placed. This should minimize the sensitivity and keep the food from getting stuck in the broken portion. Remember that this is only a temporary solution until a dentist can be seen. If a temporary filling is placed and left in the tooth for an extended period of time the tooth will decay further which can lead to tooth loss.
The temporary filling can be purchased at most drugstores or online with the link below: