As many as 38% of young adults in the United States say their life is less satisfactory because of poor oral health. In fact, 28% say the condition of their teeth and gums affect their job search!
How bad is the state of oral health in the country though? For starters, there are about 178 million individuals with at least one missing tooth. Then, there’s the 10% of the population with complete edentulism.
Now, you may think that you’re no longer at risk of tooth loss because you have dental fillings. But what if a filling fell out without you even noticing?
Well, you’ll know and feel soon enough if that happened. What’s important is to have to have it replaced ASAP or you risk losing that tooth.
So, before worse comes to worst, make sure you pay your dentist a visit as soon as you notice these seven signs.
1. A Foreign Object in Your Mouth after Biting Down on Something Hard
Say you’re enjoying your favorite dish, and by accident, you bit down a little too hard. You then felt something hard in your mouth as you began to chew.
That may be a small piece of chicken or steak bone, but it can also be a dental filling. Such instances are quite common, especially with hard or chewy food (yes, including gummy candies!).
Regardless of what you were eating when the filling came out, it’s best you call your dentist right away. The longer you put off getting a replacement, the higher the risks of the cavity getting bigger.
2. You Can Feel That It’s Gone
It’s possible that you may have swallowed a filling that fell out. Again, this is a pretty common occurrence, especially when they dislodge during meals.
So, how can you tell that you’re missing a filling? Your tongue will let you know soon enough.
Once your tongue comes into contact with the affected tooth, you’ll feel right away that the filling is gone. You’ll feel an indentation or hole left by the lost filling. You’ll know something isn’t right because it doesn’t feel right.
What if it’s only a crack that your tongue runs over? That means the filling hasn’t fallen out yet, but it’s still likely that it’s already damaged.
Whichever of these two you experience, know they both require a new tooth restoration. While a lost filling isn’t a dental emergency, you should still see your dentist right away. Postponing will only allow bacteria to wreak even more damage to the affected tooth.
3. You’re Getting Food Stuck in Your Supposedly-Filled Tooth
Dental cavities cause holes in the teeth, which is why you had your decayed tooth filled in the first place.
As such, if bits of food are again making their way into the crevices of your tooth, that’s a sign of a lost or damaged filling. Either way, you need to get a new restoration to keep you from losing your permanent tooth.
4. The Pain is Back
It’s been years since you had your tooth treated, and the sudden pain you felt before is back. Pain after cavity filling falls out is a surefire sign that you need a new restoration. Either the entire filling is gone, or parts of it fell out.
If you’re experiencing chronic headaches, it may be more than a lost filling. Either way, reach out to your dentist. Your oral health care provider will help you determine what’s behind the pain.
5. Tooth Sensitivity
Does the thought of supposedly-refreshing beverages make your teeth chatter (sorry)? Is it because you experience tooth sensitivity? If so, then that’s a sign your treated tooth needs a new filling.
Hot foods can also cause tooth sensitivity after filling fails. Even if it’s only minor pain you’re feeling at the moment, it’s best to ring your dentist up. Wait too long, and that mild discomfort can worsen into severe throbbing pain.
Note that tooth sensitivity can also indicate tooth abscess. In fact, it’s an even bigger reason to visit your dentist.
Oral infections like abscesses put people in hospitals and even claim lives. In 2008 alone, a study found these infections led to 8,141 hospitalizations.
So, don’t risk it even if you only feel minor tingling whenever you eat or drink hot and cold foods.
6. Changes in Filling Color Indicates It’s Time for a Replacement
Even if your dental fillings haven’t fallen out, a change in their color can signal a replacement is in order. This is especially true if your tooth-colored fillings have become more yellow.
Replacing it may seem more of a cosmetic reason. However, changes in color also indicate a failing filling. Better have it replaced now than suffer from the symptoms mentioned above.
7. The Age of Your Filling Matters Too
You don’t have to wait for your tooth fillings to fall out before seeking your dentist’s help. If you’ve had your amalgam fillings for almost a decade now, consider scheduling a dental check-up. Earlier if you have composite fillings, which tend to last only for five years on average.
Know Why Your Filling Fell Out to Prevent Future Premature Failure
Dental fillings, as tooth-saving as they can be, are only temporary. That means you’d have to replace them at one point. Sooner, if you tend to eat hard or too-chewy foods, or if you have bruxism.
That doesn’t mean you can’t extend their lifespan though. Limit your habits of eating hard or gummy foods. Your dentist can also help if you suffer from excessive teeth grinding.
Of course, proper dental hygiene and regular check-ups are as important. Together, these preventive measures can make your fillings last for many years.
See a Dentist ASAP for a New Tooth Filling
If a dental filling fell out, it’s best to get in touch with your dentist right away. It’s only a matter of time before bacteria find their way into the hole and cause even more damage. The longer you delay, the more pain you’re setting yourself up for.
Besides, you don’t want to say goodbye to your permanent teeth, do you? Especially if all it takes to save it is a new restoration.
Looking for more tips to keep your teeth and gums disease-free? Then pay our blog site a visit now!