Dental fillings can last for a very long time, especially if they're treated well, but they don't last forever. If you've had one of your dental fillings break on you and it's past normal business hours, you have a decision to make regarding how you'll get your filling fixed. Here's what you should consider.
Assess the Situation
The first thing to consider about this situation is whether or not you're experiencing pain. If you are feeling any kind of pain or discomfort, you should seek help from an emergency dentist right away. Waiting until your normal dentist is open and can actually see you — as many lack the space in their schedules for drop-in appointments — could mean putting up with a lot of unnecessary pain otherwise.
Visit Emergency Dentist
When you go to visit the emergency dentist, they'll assess the damage to your tooth and will determine how to move on accordingly. Here's a couple of options they'll likely consider.
The first is that they may be able to repair the filling completely without you needing to visit another dentist at all. This is typically possible when a filling has only partially broken off, as simply applying more filling can repair it. However, if the entire filling has broken, the emergency dentist may instead want to give you a temporary crown. This will essentially seal off the area and prevent it from hurting because the hidden tooth won't be making contact with anything when you eat or brush your teeth.
If you're given a temporary crown, you'll need to visit with your regular dentist afterwards.
Follow Up With Regular Dentist
Your regular dentist will remove the crown and will carefully examine the tooth. If the filling can be removed and replaced, they'll do that. However, it's possible that the tooth was damaged when the filling was broken. In this case, drilling the tooth again in order to repair the filling may be necessary. If this happens, you'll likely need a permanent crown. Permanent crowns take some time to produce, so you may have to wait a while, but your temporary crown will be put back on and will protect the tooth until it's ready.
Dental fillings can break, and when they do, it's important to know how to act. Remember that if you ever experience pain from any dental problem outside of normal business hours, emergency dentists are there for you. Contact a provider of emergency dental care for more information.