The first time you lose a dental filling, it is a pretty jarring and unexpected experience. But it's generally pretty easy to solve. Here are the steps to take.
Call Your Dentist
You may be able to get same-day service for a broken filling. This is considered a dental emergency. Without a filling on the tooth, you are potentially exposing the tooth's root and pulp to bacteria. And a tooth with a missing filling is not as structurally sound; it could further chip if you bite down too hard on a piece of food. Broken fillings may also be pretty painful if your tooth is sensitive.
Get an Evaluation
Your dentist will want to look at the tooth to see what kind of condition it's in. If it was originally a small filling, there is a good chance you can simply put another filling material in to restore the tooth. Sometimes, the filling can take parts of the tooth with it when it breaks off. That could require a root canal or, in some cases, a tooth extraction. And sometimes a cavity can continue to develop underneath a filling. This is a rare happening, but if the dentist notices that the filling was covering up a deep cavity, they might recommend a root canal instead of a tooth restoration.
Fillings may be done the same day. For a root canal, scheduling can be trickier. If the dentist has to send you away to reschedule, they can put a temporary filling material in your tooth to protect it from infection. Make sure you do take care of the broken filling as soon as you can to avoid later repercussions.
Make Sure to Keep Up with Dental Appointments
A lot of damaged fillings are caught during dental checkups or cleanings. They tend to start as small cracks where the material has separated from the tooth, and it may take a year or more for them to widen out into a lost filling. If they are caught early on, the dentist can simply fill the crack with an adhesive material. That will save you from experiencing a dental emergency again in the future. This is only one of the many benefits of getting your teeth cleaned and inspected on a regular basis, so talk to your dentist about getting your next appointment scheduled when you go in for your broken filling.