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Dental Filling Falling Out: Causes

If your dental filling falls out, it means that there is something wrong with it but it could be caused by a variety of conditions.

Potential causes of a filling to fall out:


A filling with recurrent decay underneath of it can cause it to fall out because the decay can weaken the tooth structure that the adhesive is bonded to.

decay underneath existing filling

Why it happened: The decay will eat away at the natural tooth surface which the bonding is adhered to which results in lost of structural integrity. This means that the dental adhesive which is holding the filling to the tooth will eventually give out and the restoration will fall out.

Treatment needed: New filling but the recurrent cavity will need to be excavated first.

  • Expect to be numb.

  • Your dentist will need to remove the old restoration and the decay.

  • Afterwards a new restoration will be placed!



Fillings can debond from the tooth, meaning that the adhesive has dissolved in the mouth. This means there is no longer any glue holding the filling to the tooth.

x-ray of debonded dental filling
x-ray of debonded dental filling

The x-ray above shows what it looks like when a filling is about to fall out due to debonding. A dark shadow (radiolucency) starts to form underneath of the filling on the x-ray. You can compare that to intact restorations which don't have that dark shadow.

Why it happened:

  • Saliva and an acidic diet can slowly dissolve the bonding over a long period of time.

  • Saliva contamination during the bonding process.

  • Very old filling!

Treatment needed: You will need to see your dentist for a new filling. The procedure shouldn't take too long because you won't need too much drilling. There is no decay to excavate but they may refine the preparation prior to restoring.



Believe it or not but tooth fillings can be mechanically dislodged if you floss too hard or even if your dentist/hygienist scales it too forcefully!

Missing front teeth fillings
Missing front teeth fillings

The image above shows two missing front teeth fillings. You can see two holes or cavities in the tooth of where the restorations were supposed to be. Apparently our patient was flossing and they popped out!

Why it happened:

  • Restoration overhang. A filling that is not flush with the tooth surface can increase the chances of a filling falling out while flossing.

  • Aggressive flossing. Flossing too hard can indeed pull out restorations! Be gentle when doing it because you can also damage your gums.

  • Decay. Perhaps a cavity was already starting to form underneath of it, thus weakening it enough to be flossed out.

  • Debonding. The adhesive may have been dissolving or has dissolved.

Treatment needed: A new filling will need to be placed, meaning you need a trip to the dentist.



If your filling breaks, it can fall out of your tooth and mouth. What you'll find is a hard piece of material in your hand and a hole in your tooth.

Broken filling with a missing piece
Broken filling with a missing piece

How it happened: The most likely cause would be eating hard foods which damaged or broke your filling. After it has fractured, it will easily fall out of your mouth.

Treatment needed: A brand new filling so make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The residual left over pieces of the restoration will need to be removed prior to a new one being placed.



Teeth grinding can increase the likelihood of fillings falling out because the constant shearing forces can mechanically dislodge them.

Missing filling on molar
Missing filling on molar

Why it happened: While dental restorations can resist normal wear and tear relatively well, excessive teeth grinding will dislodge them. As a matter of fact, the grinding will even wear away your natural enamel so it shouldn't be surprising at all.

Treatment needed:

  • New filling. The fallen out dental filling will need to be replaced with a new one because the tooth can be sensitive without any protection.

  • Night guard. In order to prevent future fillings from popping out, you should wear a night guard to protect against the effects of grinding.



If your filling falls out of your mouth, it means that there is something wrong with it. Our dentists in Long Island City recommend scheduling a consultation so that you can get a new one placed!


David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

Association Memberships:

Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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