Dental fillings are often seen as a permanent solution, but this isn't entirely accurate. There is a wide range of factors that determine just how long your filling will remain in place, from the level of dental care you receive (both at home and at your routine checkups), as well as the type of material that was used to fill your cavity. Some filling materials (such as glass ionomer) can require replacement in as little as five years, whereas others (such as a dental amalgam) can still be in place 15 years after placement. Anyone who has a filling in their mouth should know what to do if the filling was to ever fall out.
Retain the Filling, If Possible
A lost filling isn't a major crisis, but it will need to be replaced. If you noticed the moment of loss and were able to extract the detached filling from your mouth, you should retain it, as your dentist might ask to inspect it. It's highly unlikely that your dentist would reuse the same filling, given the low cost and minimal amount of labour involved in making a new one.
Assessing the Cavity
It's not as though your dentist will immediately replace a filling without first checking for possible reasons for its loss. If the filling has remained in place for years, and you've been diligent about your dental health, it's likely that the filling has simply reached the end of its lifespan. When the filling's loss is premature, your dentist will need to assess the tooth that hosted it. The tooth may have experienced further deterioration, leading to a deepening of the cavity, meaning that the filling was no longer able to extend to the margins of the cavity. A larger filling can solve this problem, however, more comprehensive measures might be needed, such as a dental crown.
In the Meantime
You might be faced with a short delay in having the issue addressed if your dentist isn't able to see you immediately. Exercise caution in what you eat and drink. The exposed dentin beneath the lost filling has microscopic canals that lead directly to the tooth's nerve, so some sensitivity can be expected. When the tooth's structure is suspected to be compromised, be sure to avoid this tooth when chewing food. Over-the-counter pain relievers can temporarily alleviate any discomfort until you're able to see your dentist.
In any event, replacing a lost filling is a minor event, which won't take up too much of your time. Your dentist will be able to quickly restore your tooth.
If you have questions about this process, reach out to a local dentist.
You may have heard that cavities and oral decay are linked to things like heart disease, and, in fact, your oral health affects your entire body. Hi! My name is Brenda, and I like to look at things holistically. Because of that, I created this blog. I plan for its posts to look at the link between dental issues and other health issues. I hope that the people who visit this blog learn a few tips about oral care as well as gaining a deeper understanding of why it's so important. Healthy smiles indicate a healthy body, and I hope this blog helps you achieve both!