What to Do When You Break Your Filling
Did you just break a filling? How long can you wait to call the dentist
It’s never a good feeling. You’re enjoying a meal when you hear a crack and there’s suddenly something in your mouth that’s not food. You’ve cracked a filling. It’s not the end of the world. And you don’t need to go to the emergency room — though you do need to see an emergency dentist, even if your filling fell out but you’re feeling no pain. Instead, keep calm and call your dentist as soon as possible.
Reduce Your Risk: See Your Family Dentist Regularly
What’s the big deal if I’ve cracked or broken a filling? Why’s it a big deal how long I wait to call the dentist? I’m not in any pain… You might’ve thought all these things at one point. But here’s the thing – that filling is likely the only thing standing between your bone or exposed root or nerve and all the bacteria in your mouth and in the air. Cracks or breaks in your filling are like when a dam starts to leak – water’s getting in, and it’ll get in more and more until the dam completely fails.
Cracked fillings seem to suddenly happen, but most likely the problem with your filling has been developing for months. Teeth can form micro-cracks over time due to wear and tear, and fillings are no different. They’re actually a bit less hardy than natural teeth. A bunch of micro-cracks eventually leads to a fully cracked or broken filling. And it’s something can easily be spotted with regular dentist appointments, so it’s totally preventable, save for accidents. That’s why we recommend visiting our Cincinnati-area dental clinic every six months. We’re often able to spot a broken filling before it happens, and replace it for you quickly and painlessly.
How we Approach Repairing or Replacing Broken Fillings
If you break or crack a filling, most dentists can get you in fairly quickly for an emergency dental appointment, and that includes us. You’ll probably have to get an oral x-ray, which will help the dentist decide on the best treatment approach. Your dentist might restore the tooth with a new filling. They may recommend a root canal, as well as a cap or crown if the damage is severe. In extreme occasions, the tooth may need to be extracted.
Usually, the placement of the tooth where you’ve cracked the filling determines the level of restoration. Molars or premolars usually use amalgam (silver) filling or composite and glass ionomer (tooth-colored) materials. This is ideal because back teeth do the strongest chewing and the silver filling is more durable and lasts longer. Front teeth generally require a composite and glass ionomer filling because they are so noticeable when you smile. Most dentists will ultimately let you choose.
While You’re Waiting to See the Emergency Dentist
If your tooth hurts, apply a little clove oil with a Q-Tip. This will help dull the pain. You can buy clove oil in most pharmacies as well as the spice aisle of the grocery store. Garlic also has pain-dulling and antimicrobial properties. Set some on the filling and cover it with a clove of garlic. You might also consider buying over the counter dental cement to cover the tooth surface. This will help protect and seal the tooth until you can get in to see your dentist.
But if your filling fell out and you feel no pain, you should still see an emergency dentist. Your tooth is exposed. We need to take care of it as soon as possible.
Yes, We’re Always Accepting New Patients, even in Dental Emergencies
So you have a dental emergency but no regular dentist? Don’t worry. We’re happy to see you and we’ll get you in right away, even if this is the first time in our Cincinnati office. In fact, your first appointment can be for a dental emergency. Beckham Square Family Dental is the combined practices of Dr. Andrea Schmerler & Dr. Scott Malavich. We are accepting new patients, whether you need regular checkups for your family or your tooth just lost a battle to a hoagie sandwich. It happens.