Did you know that the average tooth filling lasts about 12 years before it will either begin to deteriorate or need to be replaced? Fortunately, if you're seeing a dentist regularly, he or she should be able to spot the signs of a failing filling and address them as needed. However, if you haven't been to the dentist in a while and it's been years since your filling was done, it's possible that you could lose a filling suddenly, such as while eating or chewing gum.
DO Apply Clove Oil or Take a Painkiller
When you lose a filling, it's important to have it replaced as soon as possible. Not only will an exposed cavity be painful, but waiting too long to have a new filling put in could result in further damage to your tooth. If you're in a lot of pain as a result of your lost filling, you may want to contact an emergency dentist to see if he or she can see you right away. In the meantime, you can apply clove oil to the affected tooth and/or take a painkiller to help reduce the pain.
DO Save a Gold or Silver Filling
If you paid extra to have a gold or silver filling done, then you might want to see if you can save the filling after it comes out. Of course, if the filling was very small, it's possible that you will have accidentally swallowed it (which is fine). If you can save the filling, put it in a small plastic bag; it's possible that your dentist will be able to cement it back into place. which could save you the money of having to have an entirely new gold or silver filling done, which can be expensive.
DON'T Use a Temporary Filling Without Asking a Dentist
Finally, while there are plenty of store-bought dental cements available that can sometimes be used to cover a cavity until you can see a dentist, it's recommended that you don't use these unless you've been given permission by your dentist. These temporary fillings can help to protect your tooth and relieve your pain until you have the filling replaced, but they can also be difficult (and painful) to remove by your dentist, so they shouldn't be used unless absolutely necessary.
Now that you know what to do and what not to do when you lose a filling, you'll be well prepared in the event that it happens to you.
Contact a dental office like OraCare Dental to learn more about emergency dental services.