It’s an awful feeling —you know something’s wrong as soon as it happens. You bite down on something hard and feel something crack, but you know it’s not food. Instinctively, you understand it’s your filling. Dental emergencies happen, and often at the worst times.
If you have a cracked or broken filling, you might be wondering how long can I wait? It’s not an immediate emergency. You don’t need to go to a hospital. But you should call your dentist as soon as possible.
Save the Filling
If you feel a filling becomes loose, first remove it from your mouth. Try to avoid swallowing it. If you do swallow it, no need to panic. It will likely pass through. Breathing it in could cause a lung infection, however.
Try to keep the broken filling. Your dentist might be able to reuse it if it’s not too damaged.
Gently brush the damaged tooth. It will likely be tender and there’s no need to scrub, but try to clean it as thoroughly as possible. Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.
Are You in Pain?
Sometimes your filling fell out and you feel no pain —other times cracked fillings can be very painful. If your tooth hurts, take over the counter pain medication like Advil or Tylenol. You could also ice your jaw to reduce swelling. It also helps to apply clove oil, available in drug stores and in the baking section of most grocery stores. Drinking lukewarm peppermint tea bags and even lightly chewing on moist peppermint tea bags can also help.
What We Can Do
When you call us, we’ll get you in for an emergency dental appointment as soon as possible. We’ll take a look at the cracked filling and make a complete diagnosis. We can tell you how long you can wait until treatment. Either way, it’s not something we should put off too long. The tooth is now exposed and will continue to decay, which will lead to further cavities, perhaps even a root canal. If left exposed too long, you even risk losing the tooth. In that case, broken tooth extraction may be necessary.
We can replace the filling, depending on the extent of the damage. In some cases, we may recommend a crown.
In extreme cases if the tooth is lost, a dental implant crown may be necessary.
Why Did My Filling Crack?
Cracks can happen if a filling is positioned higher than the rest of your teeth. The force of your bite can cause the mis-positioned tooth to crack. Sometimes cracks appear in a filling overtime as it wears out from use. Sometimes cracks appear at the edge of a filling.
Loose fillings happen. Like a car or phone, they’re not designed to last forever. The important thing is to take care of them as soon as possible to prevent further infection and erosion of the tooth.
Family Dental Care for the Cincinnati Area
If you need emergency dental care, give us a call —even if we’ve never seen you before. We’re accepting new patients and offer comprehensive dental care for the entire family. Our family dental clinic practices gentle dentistry. We always try to help our patients feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.