Preventing Tooth Decay To Maintain Healthy Teeth

What To Do When A Filling Falls Out When You Are On Vacation

What happens when you are on vacation and a filling comes out? It may not seem like a big deal at first, especially if it's a small filling with no crown. Unfortunately, leaving the tooth uncapped for several days until you come back home can lead to a new cavity or infection in the exposed tooth, a cracked tooth from food items becoming lodged in the hole, or increased sensitivity because of the exposure. The following guide can help you deal with the problem until you get back home.

Step #1: Saving the filling

If you still have the filling or crown, keep it in a safe place. While fillings are rarely reused, a crown can sometimes be replaced on the tooth so that you don't need to purchase a new one. If you aren't sure which yours is, simply keep it just to be safe.

Step #2: Clean it well

The next task is to make sure there is no food stuck in the hole. Carefully brush your teeth, taking care not to irritate the tooth. Then, floss around the tooth to ensure that no food residue remains that could get into the hole. Finally, swish mouth wash or water in your mouth to dislodge any remaining food. Even a small amount of food trapped in the tooth can lead to pain or an infection.

Step #3: Fill it temporarily

You have two options for temporarily filling the tooth until you can get to a dentist:

  • Dental wax, commonly used on braces, is readily available from drug stores. Take a small wad and roll it on your finger until it is soft. Then, use it to smooth over the tooth. The wax creates a barrier so that food and bacteria can't get into the tooth. It also protects any exposed nerves, which can help if there is pain or sensitivity. You will need to replace the wax often as it wears off.

  • If you still have the crown, purchase a dental cement from the drug store. Place a small amount on the crown and fit it over your tooth. Bite down gently until the cement sets. This cement is temporary, so you will need to get in to see a dentist within a few days.

Regardless of the option you choose, try to avoid chewing on the side of the mouth with the damage and brush carefully around the tooth so you don't dislodge the repair.

Call your dentist back home and schedule an appointment for a repair for as soon as you get back. They can also make recommendations on anything you can do to manage pain, if applicable, or even refer you to a dentist in your vacation spot if you need further treatment right away.

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