The Risks of a Knocked-Out Tooth Filling

Chances are, you have at least one dental filling in your teeth, or are close to someone who has had one placed. After all, cavities affect over 90% of adults in the US, and dental fillings are among the most common restorations for treating mild to moderate tooth decay. Even if you have a severe cavity that requires root canal treatment, Dr. Wright or Dr. Heron will usually place a filling material over the gutta percha that seals your tooth’s roots. Today’s modern fillings are made to last while blending in discreetly with the tooth around it, though many fillings might still be knocked out, lost, or otherwise compromised under certain circumstances.

Risk Factors for Failed Dental Fillings

No dental fillings are permanent, and all will need replacing at some point in the future. Nevertheless, modern dental restorations are meant to last for unprecedented lengths of times, sometimes up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance. Certain risk factors, however, can increase the chances of a knocked-out or failed dental filling, such as;

  • Amalgam fillings—made from metal, amalgam can’t bond to your tooth; it might also change shape due to extreme temperatures, and can more easily be jarred loose and knocked out if the metal filling shrinks.
  • Habitual teeth-grinding—also known as bruxism, habitually grinding your teeth can wear down their surfaces, as well as knock out your filling or other existing restorations.
  • Poor bonding—moisture from excess saliva can result in poor bonding between the tooth and filling. During your procedure, Dr. Wright will isolate the tooth to block off moisture and reduce the risks of poor bonding.
  • Poor hygiene—if you have a filling placed, it’s to address a cavity (hole in your tooth) that formed because of infectious decay. Your remaining healthy tooth structure is still subject to bacterial infection, and if another cavity forms because of poor hygiene, it can deteriorate the tooth structure around your filling.

What to Do

If you feel your tooth filling fall out, spit it out, if possible. Swallowing the filling shouldn’t pose any danger, but if it’s inhaled into your lungs, the restoration can lead to an infection. If your tooth hurts because of the knocked-out filling, then call our office to schedule a dental emergency visit with Dr. Wright or Dr. Heron. The sensitivity means that the pulp, or nerves and blood vessels, inside your tooth are exposed, and are at an extremely high risk of becoming infected.


As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.