It's never a good time to lose or break a filling, but it's even worse timing when the problem occurs on the weekend or after your dentist's normal working hours. Pain, infection, and further damage are all risks that you have to face in this situation. The following guide can help you decide what to do if you have this happen to you.
Try to Salvage the Filling
Try to save the filling or crown if you can find it after it comes off. There are two reasons why this is helpful. First, crowns can be reused if they aren't damaged, saving you both money and time on the repair. Secondly, you may be able to use the original filling or crown as a temporary cover to protect the exposed nerve in the tooth. By doing so, you may be able to alleviate much of your discomfort until you can get in to see a dentist.
Temporarily Cap the Tooth
A temporary cap will cover the exposed nerve, which helps cut down on pain. It also prevents food and bacteria from getting into the tooth and causing an infection. Dental wax, available at any drug store, is the secret to making your own temporary cap. Roll a small amount between your fingers until the wax is soft and malleable. Then, mash the wax into the hole in your tooth. If you have the original filling or crown, you can use the wax to hold these in place so the tooth is even more protected. Just make sure to chew on the other side of your mouth so you don't dislodge this temporary fix.
Call Your Dentist's After-Hours Line
Most dental offices have an after-hours or emergency number you can call. You may be able to immediately schedule an appointment for when the office opens up the following day if you utilize this service. Otherwise, you can at least ask for advice and determine whether or not you need emergency care.
Visit an Emergency Dentist
In some cases, you won't be able to wait to see your regular dentist. If you are experiencing severe pain, bleeding, or discharge from the tooth or surrounding gums, or if the tooth has cracked badly and the nerve is exposed, then emergency filling or crown repair is necessary. Putting off treatment in these situations could lead to more pain and the need for more invasive dental work later.
Contact an emergency dental care clinic in your area for more help.