All of a sudden you feel a crunch when you bite down, maybe accompanied by a little bit of pain. That’s when you realize a tooth filling fell out.
There are several reasons why you may have just lost a filling. First thing’s first. Call your dentist right now so you can set up an appointment to get it fixed. Then finish reading this so you know why you need it replaced ASAP and what to do while you wait on your appointment to roll around.
What a Filling Does
When you get a cavity, your dentist will remove that tooth decay to prevent it from spreading. The dentist can’t just leave a hole in your tooth after that. It leaves your tooth vulnerable to the elements. It will start to decay again, end up causing you pain, and eventually have to be removed altogether.
Instead, the dentist will fill that hole in with a substance to close that gap and seal the tooth to prevent any further damage.
There are several different types of fillings, including gold, silver amalgam, and composite fillings. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. You’ll have to choose based on price and aesthetics in the event that you need a filling. Some options will be more cost-effective, but you’ll be sacrificing a little in the looks department.
No matter what you choose, the important thing is that your once damaged tooth is now protected.
Fixing Your Lost Filling
As we already mentioned, the first thing you need to do is call your dentist. If you didn’t do that, GO DO IT RIGHT NOW. You need to get an appointment set up to have the filling fixed as soon as possible to prevent any damage to the affected area.
Next, you need to clean the area where the filling was. You can gargle some saltwater to help flush out any food particles and kill any germs that may be in the cavity.
Until you get the filling replaced, your oral hygiene routine will be even more important than usual. Make sure you’re brushing and flossing often, paying close attention to the tooth where the filling fell out. Gently brush around the area to make sure you’re getting rid of food particles. You should also avoid chewing in that area to help keep as much food away from it as possible.
With the inner part of the tooth exposed, you may be feeling some pain. You can use one of the popular home remedies for tooth pain relief to help you get by until your appointment. Using dental wax to temporarily fill the cavity is another option to consider if the tooth is bothering you or you’re having trouble keeping it clean.
How Long a Filling Should Last
There are several factors that go into the longevity of a tooth filling, the first of which is the material used. According to Healthline, here are the general timeframes:
Silver amalgam: 5 – 25 years
Composite: 5 – 15 years
Gold: 15 – 30 years
Now, that’s a really wide range for how long those materials are good for. That’s because the longevity will also depend on how well you care for your teeth.
If you’re diligent with your dental hygiene and keep your teeth and gums properly maintained, including regular visits to the dentist, you’ll be able to get the full lifespan out of those fillings. If you’re not taking proper care of your mouth, you’ll be back in the dentist’s chair for new fillings much faster.
By not practicing good oral hygiene, your tooth is more likely to develop new decay around the site of the filling, which can eventually cause it to fall out. Some other causes of a lost filling include:
Biting down on something hard (like ice or hard candy)
Bruxism (teeth grinding)
Saliva loosening the filling’s bond with the tooth.
How to Tell a Filling is Going Bad
A lot of the time there are warning signs that your filling is getting ready to fall out.
You might notice the contours of your teeth just don’t feel right. You know those times when your tongue just keeps going to one spot in your mouth because something feels a little weird? If it’s going right to a specific tooth, that could be an indicator that a filling has changed somehow and may be damaged.
Another indicator is increased sensitivity. If a filling is loose, that leaves space for food or drink to get past the enamel of your tooth and aggravate the pulp underneath. If you’re noticing your teeth are more sensitive to heat or cold, it might be because of a filling that has come loose or broken.
You will need to see your dentist to know for sure if a filling is loose. The only way to know for sure is a thorough evaluation.
Practices for Prevention
As with most things dealing with your oral health, it always goes back to your hygiene habits. You have to brush and floss daily to keep your teeth and gums in good shape. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every few months, too.
Seeing your dentist every 6 months for checkups and teeth cleanings is also critical in preventing any issues or catching them before they turn into major problems.
Chipping or breaking a tooth really hurts. If you’re looking up “how to fix a broken tooth” in hopes of finding a permanent solution you can use at home, you’re out of luck. At some point, you’re going to have to go to the dentist and get it checked out.
There is some good news, though. You can manage the pain and do a couple of makeshift, temporary fixes to help you get by until your appointment. It might be a little longer before you can get in the chair because, as we’ll discuss a little later, your chip or crack might not actually qualify as a dental emergency.
What to Do When You Chip or Break a Tooth
There are a number of ways you could end up chipping or breaking a tooth. It could be as simple as chewing on something that’s too hard or doing something with your teeth that you shouldn’t be doing. Other times it could be from getting hit in the mouth with a hard object.
Dealing With Chips and Cracks
If you do end up with a chip or crack, you might not experience any pain. Of course, you will for some of the worse cracks or a break, but oftentimes you’ll just notice an unexpected crunching sound in your mouth or a sharp edge on a tooth that wasn’t there before.
When you first identify that you have chipped or broken a tooth, the American Dental Association says you should immediately rinse your mouth out with warm water to get rid of any food particles that might be sticking around. The affected tooth will be more vulnerable, so it can be more likely to become a victim of tooth decay if not properly cleaned (and later treated by a professional).
The process will be a little different if you have broken or completely knocked a tooth out of its socket.
You will want to keep track of the broken piece or dislodged tooth. The dentist may be able to salvage it if you get it taken care of quickly. The tooth needs to stay moist at all times. Put it in something like a wet piece of gauze or even in some milk to help preserve it.
If your tooth has entirely come out of the socket, try placing it back in without touching the root, if possible. DO NOT force it to go back in the socket. Also, do not leave it in if it may become a choking hazard. In that case, you would just want to preserve the tooth until you make it to the dentist’s office.
For a broken or dislodged tooth, you’re going to experience some pain and possibly bleeding and/or swelling. Using a wet compress can help control the bleeding and swelling. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, but be sure the pill doesn’t touch the area where the tooth was. It could cause further damage to the gums.
In this scenario, you need to go to the dentist right away. This is not a situation where you can wait a couple of days for professional help, especially in the case of a dislodged tooth.
Protecting Your Mouth Until You Get to the Dentist
You can do a couple of things at home to help get you by until your dentist appointment. These mostly will apply to chips and small breaks or cracks.
Many pharmacies will sell dental kits that contain paraffin wax. If you notice a jagged or rough spot on your tooth, you can soften some of that wax in your hand and apply it to the problem area. It will help you from biting or irritating your tongue or cheek area inside your mouth. Any cuts or abrasions will leave you open to infection.
If you don’t have any paraffin wax handy or can’t find any at your local store, you can use some sugarless gum in a pinch.
Whatever you do, DO NOT try to do a permanent fix yourself. Trying to file down the sharp spot could actually make the problem worse. Dentists can sometimes fix those spots and save more of your original tooth. If you file it down, you could be causing more damage and even end up having to have the tooth extracted. Just manage the pain, monitor jagged spots, and get to the dentist at your earliest convenience.
When it comes to how to fix a broken tooth, the deciding factors are if you are feeling any pain and if there is bleeding.
It is not a dental emergency if you aren’t experiencing any pain or bleeding. Just having an inconvenient sharp edge or rough spot on a tooth wouldn’t get you moved to the front of the line. You will just have to wait for a time that the dentist can get you into the office.
It is a dental emergency if you’re experiencing one of the following symptoms:
Bleeding that won’t stop
Painful swelling in or around the mouth
Pain in the tooth or jawbone
The tooth is knocked out or broken
For any of those symptoms, you need to go to the dentist immediately.
Get In the Dentist’s Chair
No matter how minor a chip or crack might seem, you still need to get it looked at by a professional. What looks like no big deal on the surface could end up causing more problems than you realize. Your dentist will have all of your files to look at that show if any prior issues or other concerns could come into play.
If it’s a chip or crack that isn’t really causing any pain, you can make an appointment at your convenience. If you’re having a lot of pain or you dislodged a tooth at the base, you need to get to the dentist right away.
Sometimes a dentist or other specialist of some kind will be able to identify an oral issue you’re having and correct it before it gets too bad. During those other times, you’re going to end up needing a tooth extraction.
Some of the things that will lead to a tooth extraction can be prevented, but there are a couple of instances where you just had a little bit of bad luck. Here are five of the most common reasons you might need a tooth pulled.
Overcrowding is one of those luck of the draw situations. This is when you don’t have enough room in your mouth to fit all of your teeth.
If you don’t get your overcrowding problem sorted out, it could lead to extremely crooked teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, pain, and difficulty chewing. Some of those issues are also more reasons that will end up with you getting a tooth extraction.
Sometimes crooked teeth can be fixed by an orthodontist, but oftentimes you’ll still have to get some teeth pulled to make a little extra room.
When left untreated, a cavity can get so bad it can’t be saved. This would be to a point where even a root canal can’t fix the damage that has been done by tooth decay.
Tooth decay is caused by harmful bacteria in your mouth. That bacteria interacts with food that you eat to form a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque reacts with the sugar and starch in the things you eat to form an acid. The acid slowly eats away at your enamel, which causes cavities.
If you don’t regularly brush and floss your teeth, the plaque will also form a brittle substance called tartar, which can lead to gum disease (we’ll talk about that later).
Your signs for tooth decay include tooth pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, white or brown stains on the tooth, or an infection (called an abscess).
Irreparable Tooth Damage
Broken or chipped teeth can be repaired with something like a crown or cap sometimes. If the injury is too bad, you’ll end up needing a tooth extraction instead.
Most of the time a dentist will be able to fix a chip or break. But if you end up breaking the tooth below the gum line, for instance, there’s just no way to save it. You’ll then need surgery to remove the pieces that remain below the gums.
If you don’t take your oral health seriously, you could end up dealing with gum disease, also called periodontitis. It’s a severe gum infection that impacts the bone that supports your teeth.
Gum disease is basically what will happen if you leave tooth decay unattended for too long. Your teeth start getting worse due to plaque and tartar buildup, then the problem spreads down to your gums.
Periodontitis is very common, but it’s preventable. All you need to do is brush and floss twice daily along with seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings. Symptoms include:
Swollen or puffy gums
Bright red or purple colored gums
Gums that are tender to the touch
Blood when brushing or flossing
Pus between your teeth and gums
Gums receding from your teeth, making them look longer
If you start noticing any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you address the problem, the more likely you’ll be able to reverse the damage.
Wisdom Teeth Issues
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come up in your mouth, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. While they will erupt normally for some people, many end up with impacted wisdom teeth. That’s when you don’t have enough room for the teeth to come up normally.
Those impacted teeth will either grow in at a forward or backward angle, stay laid down and grow in the jawbone, or grow straight up and down like normal but stay trapped in the jaw bone.
Some of the issues impacted wisdom teeth can cause are pain in the area, food getting stuck behind them, infection or gum disease, tooth decay, or damage to nearby teeth, just to name a few.
While some specialists don’t believe in removing impacted wisdom teeth that aren’t causing problems, others prefer to do a preventive extraction. The logic behind that is that even impacted wisdom teeth that don’t seem to be causing problems can still harbor disease, they’re hard to clean properly, and it’s better to remove them while you’re younger because older adults can see more complications from this surgery.
Preventing the Need for an Extraction
When it comes down to it, many of the issues that could lead to a tooth extraction are easy to prevent. There’s no miracle wash or spray to put on your teeth to get you off the hook for maintaining them. Brush and floss twice a day, and make sure to keep up with your regular cleanings. Developing good oral hygiene habits now can save you from running into bigger issues down the road.
If you’ve landed on this page you Googled something like “how to pull your own tooth.” You’ve either you’ve got a toothache that’s causing serious pain or you’re trying to help out someone who does. Please put down the pliers. Don’t just yank that thing out.
While you might be able to pull the problem tooth out, you could be doing more harm than good in the long run. The bottom line is you need to call your dentist immediately to get it taken care of. This is a problem you’ll want to be fixed by the pros.
The History of Tooth Extraction
You’re not the first one to have the idea of extracting a tooth. The practice has been around for centuries. With tooth infection being linked to many health issues, removing a problem tooth was a common treatment.
In the 14th century, a French physician invented a device called a dental pelican to yank out a tooth. As you may have guessed by the name, it looked kind of like a pelican’s beak. That was replaced about four centuries later by the dental key, and then in the 19th century, modern forceps were introduced.
Keep in mind that most of these were used before anesthetics were invented.
Why It’s a Bad Idea
You might think prying out your aching tooth will get rid of the pain you’re feeling. While it might cause some temporary relief (after the initial pain of getting the thing out of its socket), you could be making the problem worse.
Your biggest risk is infection. Putting your hands or some type of tool in your mouth introduces a lot of different bacteria that can be deposited in the tooth cavity. A dentist will often prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infections after a tooth extraction. If you have to pull the tooth yourself, at the very least you need to wear gloves and sanitize everything thoroughly.
Again, this is NOT a good idea.
Even if you don’t get an infection, you could cause a lot more damage than is already there. You might end up crushing the tooth or damaging the surrounding teeth and jawbone. That type of damage will make it a longer, more painful, and more expensive issue to correct.
There’s also the possibility that a tooth you think needs to be removed could still be saved. Only a dentist will be able to accurately evaluate the situation and take the necessary steps to either fix the tooth that’s there or prepare for a proper extraction.
Baby Tooth Removal Methods
When a child’s permanent teeth are ready to come in, their baby teeth have to move out of the way. To make this happen, the root of the baby tooth will start to dissolve as the adult teeth begin to erupt in the mouth. When those roots start to dissolve, that’s when you’ll notice the tooth getting loose.
Before you start tugging on that wiggly tooth, you need to know a few things.
A lot of the time a loose tooth will end up falling out on its own. That wiggliness gets uncomfortable, so children will wind up getting the tooth out by moving it around with their tongue or moving it with their fingers.
Sometimes kids just aren’t comfortable pulling the tooth, so they’ll ask for your help. It’s usually ok to help pull it out if the tooth is extremely wiggly. That means it’s just hanging on by a thread of the root that’s almost fully dissolved. If the tooth is just a little loose, you need to wait. It’s also important to make sure you’re not pulling a baby tooth until your child is at least 6 years old.
Do’s and Don’ts of Baby Tooth Removal
Remember those methods you or someone you know used to pull teeth? Well, you really shouldn’t do that. We’re talking about something like tying one end of a string to a doorknob and the other to the loose tooth then slamming the door. That can cause severe pain and other problems.
The correct method is to take a piece of gauze, tissue, or paper towel, grip the tooth, and quickly but gently twist it until the tooth comes out. If your child is worried about pain, put an ice pack on the gum near the tooth for a few minutes to numb the area.
Leave it to the Professionals
To make a long story short, you CAN pull your own tooth, but YOU SHOULDN’T.
If the time comes where you’re in so much pain you’re about to grab the pliers and yank that thing out, the bottom line is you need to take an emergency visit to the dentist. At the moment you’re dealing with that much pain it may seem like a good idea to just extract it yourself, but you will likely end up doing more harm than good.
Your best bet is to try to get your regular cleanings and have a daily routine that promotes your best oral health.
You might have a pretty high pain tolerance, but when it comes to a toothache, the pain can be unbearable for even the toughest individuals. That’s why it’s good to know some easy home remedies for emergency toothache relief.
Those aches and pains seem to always hit you at the worst time. It might be on a Friday evening, so you know you won’t be able to get in touch with any dentists. Maybe it’s over a holiday when you could have several days before getting professional help is an option. Either way, knowing how to stop tooth pain fast can help you keep the discomfort at bay.
A toothache happens when there’s irritation to the middle part of your tooth, called the pulp. There are a few things that can be the root cause of your discomfort. They are dental decay, a tooth fracture, and gum disease.
Dental decay is what leads to cavities. This happens when bacteria in your mouth solidifies and turns into plaque. If you don’t see a dentist, it could end up getting infected.
A tooth fracture is when you get a crack in a tooth. That could be a single, large split or a string of small cracks. Causes include chewing on something hard, pressure from grinding your teeth, being hit in the mouth, extreme temperature changes, and age.
Gingivitis and gum disease happens over a period of time as the gums get inflamed by bacteria that accumulate in the mouth. This is when you’ll notice sensitivity and bleeding from the gums.
Home Remedies for Toothache Relief
Left untreated, all of the issues listed above can lead to major problems down the line, so your priority should be setting up an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The good news is you don’t have to just live in pain while you wait for that appointment to come around.
Saltwater or Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse
One of the first things you’ll want to do is to rinse your mouth out. Swishing warm salt water around in your mouth can help remove food particles that may be stuck in your teeth, and the salt is a natural disinfectant. You may already have done this before to help soothe a sore throat.
Hydrogen peroxide is another good antiseptic to rinse with. It will kill any bacteria in your mouth, reduce plaque, and help heal bleeding gums. Just dilute some peroxide with water, swish it around in your mouth, and spit it out.
For either of these rinses, make sure you don’t swallow the mixture.
Some conditions can lead to swelling in your cheek and jaw area, along with the gums. Many times that points to an abscess, which is a pocket of puss that has formed in the roots of your tooth. Putting a nice cold rag or an ice pack on the swollen area can help reduce the swelling and numb the pain.
If you’re experiencing swelling, a fever, and red gums, it’s imperative that you see your dentist. Those are the signs of an abscessed tooth. If not treated, severe infection can spread and make things much worse.
Pain Relievers and Anesthetics
An over-the-counter pain reliever might be all you need for a reprieve from the discomfort. Take your choice of ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen as directed on the bottle.
Some kind of anesthetic drops or spray is good to have on hand, as well. There are several different products that will allow you to apply a liquid or gel directly to the area that’s causing the problem. The medicine will numb the inflamed area.
Aside from salt for a saltwater rinse, you might have a few other items already in the cupboards that can provide some natural relief.
Don’t just throw away that peppermint teabag after you make a nice hot beverage in hopes of getting a little relief. Peppermint actually has some numbing properties that can help treat pain. Once you have used the teabag in your drink, wait for it to cool down a little. Then put the bag on the spot that’s hurting.
To mix things up a little, you can also cool down that teabag so you get a combination of the peppermint and a cold compress.
Do you have that box of baking soda you bought to start trying to brush with to help whiten your teeth? That’s not the only oral use it has. Mix a little bit with some water to make a thick paste. Then apply that paste to the tooth and gums where you’re getting the pain.
Baking soda will neutralize the acids in your mouth, which in turn kills bacteria.
You might have to go out and find this one, but if you’re looking for a natural remedy you’ll want to give it a shot. Clove oil has been used for decades as an at-home antibacterial treatment and has a numbing property that can help dull the pain. The chemical eugenol, which is found in clove oil, is also a natural antiseptic.
To use clove oil, just apply a few drops of the oil directly to the area where you’re experiencing the pain. You can also dilute the oil in some water and use it as a mouth rinse.
Don’t Forget Your Appointment
While all of these methods can help you get by without being in agony, if you’re experiencing pain for more than a day or two you need to see a dentist. That’s especially true if you’re having some swelling and bleeding gums. The very best way to avoid ending up with a toothache is always going to be to practice good oral health every day and to visit your dentist every six months for regular cleanings.