Dental fillings are designed to be long-term solutions, but most of them won't last for an entire lifetime. Most people will encounter a filling falling out, especially if they eat crunchy or hard foods, so it's a good idea to know in advance what you should do if a filling falls out. While seeing your regular dentist immediately is a good idea, if that's not possible, follow these steps to protect your tooth and preserve your filling.
If at all possible, retrieve and keep the filling that has fallen out of your mouth. Unlike knocked-out teeth, no special care is required to maintain a filling until you can get to a dentist, but you should make an effort to protect it from damage. A pill bottle or another hard plastic container will generally make a good storage device for a filling. Try to avoid simply wrapping it up in a tissue and putting it in a pocket or purse, as it could be easily mistaken for something else and thrown away.
Fillings typically can't be replaced at home, but you can take steps to protect the tooth it fell out of. Most grocery stores and drug stores carry dental cement that you can use to coat and protect the tooth temporarily. This will help to keep bacteria and food particles from getting in that could cause damage to the tooth. However, it's only a temporary fix, so don't plan on going without your filling for a long period of time.
Avoid Certain Foods & Drinks
Whether or not you cover your tooth with dental cement, you should avoid certain types of food and drink until you can see a dentist. Acidic and exceedingly hot beverages should be avoided, as should hard, crunchy, or sticky food. These items can do significant damage to the exposed tooth, or damage the dental cement coating, nullifying its protection. Depending on how deeply your tooth was drilled prior to being filled, the pulp of the tooth may be exposed, which is extremely vulnerable to acid and sugar-fed bacteria.
See Your Dentist Right Away
While these steps will help to preserve your tooth and filling, you should get to your dentist as soon as you can. If they're open, call them and book an emergency appointment. If not, make sure to get in touch as soon as they're next at the office and explain your situation so you can get in as soon as their door opens.
If you visit your dentist regularly for check-ups, your likelihood of encountering fillings falling out will be reduced, since dentists will fix any work they find that's coming apart. However, should it ever happen to you, these steps will keep your tooth safe until you can get to a dentist.