It’s no secret that going to the dentist ranks right up there with paying taxes and stubbing your toe on the corner of your bed on your list of “favorite things to do”. But when you lose a filling, there is nowhere you would rather be than in the dentist’s chair as soon as possible. So what happens when you can’t get to the dentist right away? Or what if your dental insurance hasn’t kicked in? Or what if you can’t face the thought of having someone stick their hands in your mouth? How do you deal with the inconvenience and pain of a lost filling?
At Home Temporary Filling Kits
Many drug stores are now offering do-it-yourself temporary filling kits for at-home use. These kits usually come with some sort of paste that can be rolled and applied to the tooth in question in place of the lost filling. After biting down for several minutes, the material hardens and excess can then be scraped away with the included tool. For less than $20, you can have a temporary filling in your tooth in just minutes. Seems like the perfect solution, right?
Do They Work? For How Long?
Beneath each tooth in your mouth is a root that is attached to a nerve. When these nerves are exposed, infected or inflamed, you tend to experience sensitivity to cold and heat or even excruciating pain. When a filling is put into your tooth, the dentist cleans out the decaying tooth and covers the exposed root with a tooth-like material that will protect both the remaining tooth and the nerves beneath. Should anything happen to that filling, the root will be exposed causing sensitivity, pain or possibly even infection. You are also more likely to break the remaining tooth because it has a hole in it. The goal should be to repair the tooth as quickly as possible.
That’s where temporary fillings are great. If it is after hours or your dentist is away on vacation, these at-home kits offer people an opportunity to protect the root and the tooth until they can have a permanent filling put in. However, they are not meant to be a permanent solution. If you must use an at-home temporary filling, you should see your dentist as soon as possible to have the tooth examined and correctly repaired.
Are there future consequences to an at-home temporary filling?
One of the biggest possible consequences of using an at-home filling kit is an infection. Right now, depending on your oral hygiene, there is between 1,000 and 10,000 individual bacterium living on each tooth in your mouth. When you apply a temporary filling at home, you are likely to trap many of these bacteria beneath the surface. These bacteria can cause a painful and damaging infection in your tooth’s root. They can also cause further decay in the area if they are left there too long. That is why it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible once you have used an at-home product.
Of course, we would rather save you the hassle of using an at-home temporary filling. Call us today if you have a problem with a crown or filling.