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Having an open hole in your tooth can be uncomfortable and a little scary. It can lead to plenty of questions. But losing a dental filling is one of those dental emergencies that is way more common than you think.
Just like most hardware, dental fillings experience wear and tear as they age and often need to be replaced. In many cases, your dentist in Laguna Hills can catch a problematic filling before it falls out. But there are plenty of factors that can cause a filling to fall out unexpectedly.
What Happened To My Filling?
As with most unexpected dental concerns, the first rules are don’t panic and call your Laguna Hills dentist right away. You don’t want to leave sensitive underlying areas of the tooth exposed, so make sure to get your missing filling taken care of by a professional as quickly as possible.
First, check your mouth for the missing filling or any pieces of broken tooth and carefully take them out to avoid swallowing or inhaling. Then call your dentist and let the receptionist know you’ve lost a filling. Your dental office in Laguna Hills, CA generally reserves emergency spots every week and can usually find a way to get you in the chair quickly.
Meanwhile, there are a few things you can do to stay comfortable and avoid infection while waiting to see the dentist. Avoid chewing on the affected side to help reduce pain and keep the area clean. Brush the exposed area very gently and rinse with saltwater—an old-fashioned salt water rinse not only helps safely clean the area but also reduces pain.
If the exposed area is especially sensitive, you may want to consider a temporary filling. Commercial products made of zinc oxide are available at most drugstores. But remember, even if this option helps temporarily, it’s not a substitute for a visit to your Laguna Hills dentist. The temporary filling isn’t designed to last, and there may be new decay on the affected tooth that your dentist will need to treat.
In fact, new decay is one of the most common reasons for a lost filling. Other factors that can cause fillings to become loose are impact from grinding or clenching of teeth, injury, or (as many of us know) simply biting down on the wrong thing.
What Is A Tooth Filling?
A tooth filling is simply the removal of the decayed area of the tooth, which is filled in with special material. There are a range of options for filling material, including gold, porcelain, the old-school silver amalgam (made up of mercury mixed with other materials) that so many of us have in the backs of our mouths, and the increasingly popular tooth-colored composite resin.
Many patients who lose an older metal amalgam filing opt to replace it with tooth-colored resin. This is a great choice for esthetic reasons and is generally covered by insurance plans. However, composite fillings do tend to need replacement sooner than metal fillings. So talk to your dentist in Martinsburg about which material is best for you.
When you see your Laguna Hills, CA dentist, he’ll check for new decay and treat as necessary. In some cases, especially when the surrounding tooth is broken or decayed, a simple replacement filling may no longer be enough, and a patient may need a dental crown or root canal treatment. But even if this is the case, there’s no cause for alarm. Your dentist in Laguna Hills, California will walk you through your treatment options and help you make the best choice for your dental health.
Lost dental fillings happen all the time. Unfortunately for some of us, they can happen at the least opportune moments. But there’s no need to panic. Just keep the area clean and, most importantly, see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent infection and discomfort. Your Laguna hills dentist, Dr. Loberg will go over your options for replacing the filling and/ or further treatment and you’ll be on your way to a healthy mouth!
This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our Laguna Hills, CA dental office would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.