Fillings can last anywhere between 5 to 15 years depending on the material you choose and whether you maintain good oral hygiene. Unfortunately, they aren’t infallible and certainly not as resilient as natural teeth. They can crack, chip, break, and could sometimes fall off without warning.
At Luck Dental Clinic, we have treated many patients with cracked or broken fillings. We aim to help limit the damage and make sure the surrounding tooth remains in good shape. Our dentist will carefully examine the condition of the tooth before determining which treatment option is the most suitable.
Here we provide a few tips and suggestions on what to do if you discover that your filling is broken or has fallen off.
1. Book a Dentist’s Appointment
If the filling is broken, nothing is protecting the underlying tooth pulp and dental matter from bacterial infestation. The longer you ignore the problem, the more likely it is that you will develop a severe infection. That’s why it is essential to call the dentist for an appointment immediately after you notice the problem.
Most dentists will treat this as an emergency case and offer an appointment as quickly as possible. This ensures the issue is resolved before bacteria have a chance to settle in and fester.
2. Dental Hygiene
Until the dentist can fix the problem, you need to maintain meticulous dental hygiene. Brush your teeth gently twice a day and rinse your mouth with mouthwash every day. Following this routine can help prevent infection and will ensure that no food particles become lodged in the cavity.
It is also a good idea to floss around the tooth carefully, without exerting too much pressure. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal and be cautious about what you eat until the filling is replaced.
3. Avoid Certain Food Items
Some food items will place additional strain on your damaged filling and cause it to become dislodged entirely. If you want to avoid that, you might need to restrict your diet for a few days. Avoid any item that is too difficult to chew that can cause strain to the compromised tooth. Also, avoid food items like candies and syrups that are overly sticky as they are difficult to clean.
You can prevent toothache and sensitivity by avoiding hot or cold beverages. The temperature can sink through the cracks and reach the sensitive tooth nerve, causing acute discomfort or pain. It is a good idea to stick with mild, soft food items until the dentist replaces the filling.
4. Don’t Chew On The Side of the Damaged Tooth
Even if you’ve restricted yourself to soft food items, don’t chew on the side of the damaged tooth. When the filling breaks, it compromises the tooth structure, making it vulnerable to damage. The last thing you want is to strain it and cause irreparable damage to the tooth.
Chew on the opposite side of the jaw to ensure there’s no load on the damaged tooth. This will also help keep the wound site relatively clean.
5. Use Dental Wax
If you’re unable to secure an emergency dentist’s appointment, use dental wax to ensure the damaged filling remains safe. While this is only a temporary measure, it can help. However, you would still need to visit the dentist at the earliest possible opportunity. Apply the wax to the damaged area carefully and let it set. This temporary treatment should hold for a few days and form a protective barrier over the damaged tooth.
You can also use over-the-counter painkillers to deal with any pain or sensitivity you experience because of the exposed dental nerve.