Fillings are used to repair cavities, but they don't last forever. Fillings can fall out for many reasons, such as decay underneath the filling, and when they do, you'll have a toothache. This toothache won't go away until you get your filling replaced, so you may want to call an emergency dentist. Here's what you need to know about this common but unpleasant situation.
How common are lost fillings?
Fillings are designed to last for many years, but they aren't meant to last forever. All fillings eventually need to be replaced, according to the American Dental Association, so it's not your fault that your filling fell out. Everyday activities like eating or clenching, over many years, will eventually cause your filling to fail, as can cavities that develop near the filling.
How can you relieve the pain?
While emergency dentists will usually have same day appointments available, this isn't always the case. You may need to wait a day to see your dentist, but you don't need to suffer while you're waiting. For short term pain relief, you can use clove oil. Clove oil is found in the spice section of most supermarkets, and a dab of the oil will temporarily remove your tooth pain.
Dental cement is another good option. You can get dental cement at your drug store. Simply apply it to the area of your tooth where the filling came from. This is only a temporary fix, but it will keep temperature, pressure, or air from aggravating the cavity while you wait to see your dentist.
What will the dentist do?
Once it's time for your appointment, what will the dentist do about your lost filling? First, the dentist will examine your tooth for signs of decay, since a lost filling can be caused by tooth decay underneath or around the filling. If the dentist sees decay, he or she will remove the decayed part of your tooth, and then place a replacement filling. You may be given a choice regarding the type of filling that is placed.
Are there different kinds of fillings?
If you had your old filling for a long time, it was probably made of a material called amalgam. Amalgam is made of silver, mercury, and other metals, but there are other options available now. Your dentist can make your new filling out of composite, a material made of resin and glass-like particles. Composite fillings are the same color as your teeth, so they will be less obtrusive than your old fillings.
Fillings can also be made of glass ionomers. Glass ionomers are tooth-colored, just like composite fillings, but they have the added benefit of slowly releasing fluoride into your mouth. Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay, so this new filling can help to keep your other teeth healthy and decay free.
How long should your new filling last?
Your new filling won't last forever, just like your old one didn't. Some types of fillings can last for as long as 15 years, but most have a shorter lifespan. Amalgam fillings usually last for about 12 years, while composite fillings will wear out more quickly. Some fillings will need to be replaced after only 5 years. Your dentist should be able to tell you exactly how long your new filling can be expected to last, once you've decided what type to get.
Fillings aren't designed to last forever, so don't be upset that yours fell out. You didn't do anything wrong, but you do need to get it fixed. Lost fillings are painful, so go to this sites or call an emergency dentist right away so that you can get it fixed.