Los Altos Dental Emergency – Lost Filling

Materials used in modern day fillings primarily are a silver amalgam of different metals, or a white composite material that blends in with the teeth. Tooth colored composite fillings are growing in popularity. Few people are able to go their whole life without needing at least one filling. Regardless of the material, some fillings will eventually need to be removed and replaced.

Sometimes a filling will come out on its own and need to be replaced. A filling that has come out is not reusable. New material will be needed. Although inconvenient, unless the tooth is painful or sensitive, a lost filling is not a serious dental emergency. However, it can worsen if left untreated for a long period of time.

Even when teeth are thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis by patients at home and twice a year by a dentist or hygienist, existing fillings can fail over time. Patients from Los Altos are invited to schedule a dental emergency visit with Dr. Antonious at his nearby office to replace their missing fillings. He has extended hour to accommodate a variety of schedules.

What are possible causes for a filling to fall out leading to a dental emergency visit? Moisture contamination during the placement of a filling may affect its longevity. If saliva or water is present, the material may not fully bond to the tooth. If a seal does not exist between the filling and the tooth, decay may grow and further weaken the bond causing the filling to dislodge. Eating certain hard foods or opening items with the teeth can also loosen an existing filling.

Clinching, grinding, or an unbalanced bite can lead to the same result. A Los Altos area dentist can determine if a patient needs a bite adjustment, or will benefit from a custom mouth guard to protect their teeth from damage caused by clinching and grinding.
Depending on the size and depth of the filling, anesthetic may be used during preparation and placement. The Los Altos area dentist will ensure that any decay and remaining fragments from the previous filling are removed prior to placing the new filling. He will use materials to isolate the tooth and prevent contamination during the placement of the new filling. The new filling will be shaped, polished, and adjusted.

Although a lost filling may be less complicated than other dental emergencies, it should still be addressed in a timely manner. Failure to do so may lead to an increase in damage and replacement cost. Patients with a lost filling may experience complications such as cuts and irritation caused by sharp edges on the tooth, sensitivity to hot and cold, as well as trapped food that can cause mouth odor, tissue irritation, and decay.

Please call our office as soon as possible. It is better to have the dentist replace the filling than to attempt to do it yourself with drug store filling material. You will also want to brush and floss the area after meals to keep it clean and prevent food from accumulated in the open area of the tooth.

Periodic x-rays, exams, and cleanings may allow your Los Altos area dentist to detect dental defects before they result in unexpected dental emergencies.