What to Do – Loose Dental Filling

dental filling Mableton, GA

A loose dental filling can occur because of trauma to the mouth. This may involve an outside blow, or it may occur due to biting down too fast on a food that is too hard. Sometimes there is further decay of the tooth that causes or contributes to the filling's loosening. Whatever the cause, a loose filling requires attention from a dentist as soon as possible.

However, sometimes the patient cannot get in to see the dentist right away. Though not necessarily a dental emergency, a loose filling can nevertheless be very painful. Fortunately, there are steps a patient can take to control the pain and protect the tooth until they can make an appointment and be seen.

What should a patient do about a loose dental filling?

Part of the purpose of a filling is to protect the sensitive structures within the tooth from painful stimuli such as pressure and temperature extremes. When the filling is no longer in place, these structures become exposed to such stimuli. The most important thing to do after a filling becomes loose is to control the pain. The next thing to do, if possible, is to temporarily fill in the broken area to protect what lies beneath.

Pain control

Patients can take an over-the-counter pain reliever, e.g., acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, to reduce the pain from a loose filling. Another way to numb the pain is to apply an ice pack to the outside of the face. Some dentists also recommend applying clove oil, which is available for purchase at pharmacies and grocery stores, to the affected tooth to numb the painful areas.

Tooth protection

Drug stores often sell kits containing items such as dental adhesive or cement that allow patients to temporarily seal up the hole in a tooth from a filling that is loose or lost. Patients who do not have access to one of these kits can fill in the open area using sugar-free gum or petroleum jelly.

How does a patient know that a dental filling has come loose?

Often, a person with a loose filling will find out right away. The first indication may be pain in the form of a toothache that is mild to severe. Patients may also experience unusual sensitivity to very cold or very hot food and drink. Sometimes there is no pain but the patient experiences discomfort in the form of unusual pressure on the tooth when chewing.

Roughness

When a filling is loose, the surface of the tooth may feel rough to the touch. A patient frequently perceives this with their tongue as it moves within the mouth.

Visual indications

Either the patient or the dentist may observe visual signs in the mouth that a filling has become loose:

  • Gaps between the tooth and filling
  • Black spots on the tooth near the filling
  • Holes in the tooth

It may be easier for the dentist to perceive visual signs such as these, especially if the problem tooth is located in the back of the mouth.

Conclusion

A patient with a loose filling should see a dentist for treatment as soon as possible. Otherwise, the damaged tooth could weaken over time and cause further dental problems.

Request an appointment here: https://www.providencefamilydentistry.com or call Providence Family Dentistry at (678) 496-7021 for an appointment in our Mableton office.

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