You’re racing down the ice, calling for the puck from your teammate to sink it into the goal… when the puck hits you straight in the mouth. You’re wearing your mouthguard (of course!) but the force still knocks loose a filling. Sometimes dental emergencies happen at the least convenient times! Here’s our quick guide on how to handle a lost filling until you can get in to see us.
What to expect:
Likely, the filling will come out in one piece. This can be the result of new decay under the filling or stress on the tooth. However, it’s always a good idea to sweep your mouth with your tongue and swish with some water to try and find any small pieces. It’s very common to experience some pain and sensitivity to temperature where you lost a filling. The outer layers of your teeth, or enamel, usually act as a shield to prevent air, liquids, and foods from irritating your nerves. When you have decay, a dentist must drill out the decay, which often means getting into the softer, more sensitive layers of your teeth. If you lose a filling, it is likely that your nerves will be exposed and sensitive to hot and cold.
Remove the filling immediately. While a swallowed filling will likely pass without issue, it’s best to save the filling whenever possible. An inhaled filling can cause a lung infection, and having the whole filling to show the dentist when you come in can help us know if any part of it is missing.
Clean the area vigilantly. Brush. Floss. Rinse with mouthwash. Repeat. Although good oral hygiene is always an excellent idea, when you have a missing filling it is especially important. Food and bacteria can become trapped in the hole and cause damage and further decay.
Put in temporary filling material. Most drugstores and pharmacies carry temporary filling material with easy to understand instructions and pictures. Filling material can be placed in empty filling hole or under a crown that’s fallen off to keep debris out and help reduce sensitivity.
Make an appointment to see your dentist. A lost filling needs to be replaced as soon as possible to reduce the damage done to your tooth. We offer emergency dental appointments, so if you have an urgent need be sure to call us ASAP!
Put off making an appointment. Although there are some solutions to help keep food out of the hole and you out of pain, they are only TEMPORARY. The longer you put off making an appointment, the worse the damage could be. A space in your tooth is the perfect incubator for bacteria. Bacteria causes bad breath and decay and could mean loosing even more of the tooth.
Chew hard, sticky foods. With your filling gone, the structure of your tooth is weakened. Eating hard foods or sticky foods might cause damage or breakage to your tooth. If possible, chew softly and on the opposite side of your mouth.
Hopefully these easy steps help guide you in case you find yourself missing a filling. With a little TLC and a visit to your dentist, you’ll be back to chewing and enjoying hot and cold drinks before you know it!