A lost filling can be a truly painful experience. Fillings may fall out for any number of reasons. Maybe it was new and did not set up properly or you may have eaten something that broke or pulled out the filling. Perhaps decay around the edges of older fillings loosening it. Whatever the reason, when you have a toothache from a lost filling, you want the pain to stop now.
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Why It Hurts
A filling is an artificial material used to replace the decayed enamel of a tooth, protecting the sensitive interior. When the filling is gone, the interior is exposed. Nerves within the tooth may then be affected by cold, pressure, impacted food or other stimuli, or in some cases nothing at all, resulting in a toothache.
When a filling is lost, it is important to contact your dentist office and have it replaced as soon as possible. Until then, treatments are available to help reduce the pain experienced from a lost filling. For immediate pain, try rinsing with warm water to loosen any foreign object that may be causing the pain. Topical anesthetics, such as eugenol, are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies.
Filling repair kits are also available over-the-counter and contain temporary filling material that can be pressed into the cavity and allowed to set, protecting the area more effectively. Remember, however, this is just a temporary solution until your dentist replaces the filling permanently.
Restoring the Filling
When you see your dentist to restore the filling, you will usually be given an injection of some type of anesthetic, such as Novocaine, to numb the area. The dentist will then examine where the filling was and clean away any new decay and reshape the space for the filling, if necessary. The filling material will then be replaced, allowed to cure, then shaped and polished.
Some people may experience a certain amount of sensitivity when a new filling is put in place. This may be caused by temperature changes, pressure or sweets. As time goes by, this sensitivity should go away, usually within two weeks. If the sensitivity does not resolve after this time, see your dentist.