If you have a lost filling, you can rest assured that you’re not the only one. It’s actually a pretty common occurrence. People often end up losing or damaging their fillings while biting hard objects and foods, such as ice cubes, hard candy, or even nuts. The sound of a gentle crack might inform you that you’ve damaged your filling or crown. You can also have lost fillings because of dental injuries, facial trauma, or bruxism (teeth grinding). Below, we discuss whether a lost filling constitutes a dental emergency and when to contact your emergency dentist.
What is a dental filling?
A dental filling is a component or material used to repair dental cracks, cavities, and damages. If you have a cavity or crack on your teeth, the dentist will remove the damaged parts of your teeth and apply a special material to the area. This material will “fill” the hole, thereby earning the name dental filling. You can also get dental fillings if you have severely worn-down teeth because of bruxism, i.e., persistent teeth grinding.
What are the types of filling materials?
Cast gold fillings are extremely durable and last for 10 to 15 years — they don’t corrode and can withstand considerable bite force. However, they’re also a lot more expensive than other materials, require at least two office visits, and they’re extremely visible, so people know you have fillings.
Silver amalgam fillings are also extremely durable, lasting 10 to 15 years without incidence. They can also withstand significant bite force and are less expensive than composite fillings. However, silver doesn’t look natural, and the amalgam filling eventually becomes dark and discolored, making it look black.
Composite resin fillings, also known as tooth-colored fillings, are the most popular choice for fillings because they resemble the natural shade and texture of enamel. Furthermore, the dentist doesn’t have to remove more of the tooth structure than is decayed, making it more conservative than other filling materials. However, composite fillings are less durable.
Ceramic or porcelain fillings have the same benefits as composite resin — they look completely natural and can be shaded according to your natural teeth color. They’re also stain-resistant, so they won’t become discolored over time, and they can last up to 15 years. But ceramic fillings cost as much as gold fillings, making them expensive.
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What happens during a dental filling?
During your dental filling, the dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth with local anesthesia. They’ll use a drill or air abrasion device to remove the decayed parts of your teeth, ensuring that all the decayed components are removed. The dentist will clean the area to remove all the bacteria and debris, making space for the filling. Finally, the dentist will apply the tooth-colored filling in layers and use a special light to harden each layer. The excess materials will be trimmed, making your tooth look completely natural.
Is a lost filling a dental emergency?
Is a lost filling a dental emergency?
Losing a dental filling can be frightening. You may also experience some pain, sensitivity, and discomfort, especially while eating or drinking hot or cold foods. However, in most cases, dental fillings don’t constitute dental emergencies, i.e., you don’t need to contact your dentist in the middle of the night. While it’s not a dental emergency, you must still contact your dentist at the earliest time possible during regular hours. You can wait a few hours or a day to replace dental fillings, but you shouldn’t wait longer.
If you’ve lost a dental filling, you probably have a cavity again. This cavity is essentially a bedrock for bacterial infections, leading to significant bacterial activity. If you don’t contact your dentist soon, it will eventually get infected, and the bacteria may go deeper into your teeth. If the infection reaches the internal pulp chamber, you’ll have no option but to get a root canal. As such, you can avoid the possibility of root canals by contacting your dentist as soon as possible.
What can I do if I have a lost filling?
When you lose a filling, you must place it in a safe environment, ideally an airtight container with your saliva or milk. If the dental filling isn’t broken, the dentist might be able to restore it. When you call the dentist, you must take the filling components with you, if possible. The dentist will examine your teeth, clear out the debris and bacteria, and provide new fillings. If the cavity has grown larger, they may recommend dental crowns or a root canal.
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Lost Filling FAQs
Lost Filling FAQs
If your tooth is cracked in half, you must contact your emergency dentist without delay. The dentist will examine the extent of the damage and recommend the ideal solutions, such as dental crowns, root canals, extractions, or dental implants.
In most cases, a dentist can fix a broken tooth if you contact them without delay. The dentist might be able to save your tooth with dental fillings, crowns, onlays/ inlays, or other restoration materials. However, if the fracture extends under the gum line, you may need a tooth extraction followed by a replacement.
In most cases, a chipped tooth can be repaired with fillings or dental crowns. Your dentist will examine your teeth and the extent of the damage to recommend the ideal solutions.
Consult your emergency dentist in Houston, TX
Edge Dental is a state-of-the-art dental clinic specializing in dental emergency services in Houston, TX. Our dental clinic is highly accessible, located at 15455 Memorial Dr #400. If you have a lost filling, please contact our dentist to discuss your treatment options. Our dentist may replace the lost filling, but if you have a severe dental cavity, you may need a root canal or even extraction. Please schedule your dental emergency services in Houston, TX, for more information.