Lost Filling


Dental fillings are used to fill tooth cavities and are made of numerous different materials, whereas dental crowns are used to cover the entire tooth crown (i.e., the visible part of the tooth above the gum line). Over time, a tooth that has a filling or a crown may decay, and the filling or crown can become loose and fall out. Dental caries alter the shape of sound tooth structure and the filling or crown will no longer hold.

What Can Be Done By You?

Lost fillings or crowns are usually not viewed as a dental emergency, however if this happens to a front tooth, the poor aesthetics may lead one to find help immediately. Also, temperature sensitivity if the tooth is still alive (i.e., was not treated with a root canal) or sensitivity to touch may make one seek help immediately. Make sure that if your crown comes off, you save it in a container and bring it to the dentist with you, as it may just be a case of the cement washing out over time. Do not wait too long before visiting your dentist, as the crown can be lost, or the tooth and other teeth can shift and the crown will no longer fit on the tooth.

You can also do the following as a temporary fix if a crown or filling falls out before you reach your dentist:

  • Purchase some oil of clove and place it on the tooth with a cotton applicator to reduce and/or relieve the pain. This can be purchased in a pharmacy or grocery store.
  • If your crown falls out, find it and clean the inside of the crown and place it back onto your tooth if possible. The crown may be loose, so purchase some crown cement from a pharmacy and place some on the inside of the crown before replacing it on the tooth. This should keep it in place until you visit your dentist. Denture adhesives may also be used to keep the crown in place temporarily. Do not use household glue or "Super Glue" or "Crazy Glue." They can cause more serious dental problems.
  • You may also want to place the dental cement on the tooth if a crown or filling is lost, in order to temporarily protect the tooth. Then, get to your dentist as soon as possible.

What Can Your Dentist Do?

Your dentist can clean and re-cement your crown if the tooth doesn't have dental caries and still fits good. If a filling is lost, your dentist will remove the decay and place a new filling. If there is decay under the crown, your dentist will remove the decay and fabricate a new crown.