Re-filling a molar
November 6, 2014 7:07 AM   Subscribe

While brushing my teeth today, I realized that my one filling has started to pull away from the enamel. What should I do?

I have one filling that I got about eight years ago. I believe it was a plaster filling, and the dentist wasn't great. This morning, while I was brushing my teeth, I felt that the edge of the filling closest to the inside of my jaw had started to pull away from the enamel.

How long do I have before I get this fixed? (I have a week-long conference for my job next week and I'm not sure when I'll be able to get an appointment.)

Is there anything I can do between now and the appointment to make sure it doesn't get any more broken?

If this helps, I'm in my mid-30s, I have a somewhat carb-heavy diet that I've been trying to fix, and I'm on the state health care plan.
posted by pxe2000 to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
If you have a regular dentist I would call them right now and see if they can get you in today or tomorrow. Mine usually can. With teeth, sooner is better. Plus then you won't spend the next week worrying about it.
posted by something something at 7:17 AM on November 6, 2014 [7 favorites]

You can buy temporary filling spackle over the counter at just about any drugstore. Make an appointment now to get it fixed asap (just easier not to fuck around with your teeth!!) but in the meantime, like while you're off at your conference, chew carefully and use that temp filling stuff to cobble things back together until then.
posted by phunniemee at 7:18 AM on November 6, 2014

See if there's an urgent care dentist in your area. The one in my town charges reasonable rates, but their equipment is at least 30 years old. It's adequate in a pinch, but probably not as good as your regular dentist.

Otherwise, just chew soft things on the other side of your mouth and swish around with water a lot. It's unlikely that you'll develop an infection, but treat it with care.
posted by magdalemon at 7:27 AM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The earliest appointment my dentist has available is 20 November. His secretary said to call back tomorrow after 9:30 to see if anything else opened up. I'm going to look for temporary filling spackle and see if there's an urgent care dentist in Boston.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:29 AM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Keep calling your dentist, and get a new dentist! Dentists should have emergency appointments available for this kind of stuff.

I used to go to the BU dental clinic on the BU main campus (not the South End one near the dental school) and they fit me in same day when I had a loose crown. I didn't even have to wait in the waiting room. I was already a patient there, though, not sure if it's different if you're not already a patient.
posted by mskyle at 7:34 AM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

That happened to me. I waited around ultimately ~ 2 years before really getting anything done about it. I'm not saying you should wait that long, I'm just saying I doubt it's an emergency situation unless you are in pain. Obviously if you are in pain it is an emergency.

If the filling that's in it is coming out the dentist is going to take that out and replace it anyway. It's not like going in today is going to save that bit of filling from being discarded anyway. In my case the filling was loose for a while - then it fell out completely and there was just a hole there. Life went on. I was never in pain. Finally a few months ago I got it root canaled and capped.

I continued going to the dentist every 6 months during this time for my regular cleanings and he of course urged me to get it fixed every time but I didn't have the money and then I was pregnant and it wasn't painful so I just kept waiting. I'm sure I was playing fast and loose with my health so don't be me.

I think you're fine to wait until Nov. 20 - don't bite down on anything hard (ice) or really chewy (caramels) on that side until then if you want to keep it from possibly falling out.
posted by ZabeLeeZoo at 9:26 AM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

About avoiding things that are chewy, also be aware of bread. I've pulled out a few fillings because of chewy pizza.

Some Boston area emergency dentists:

Copley Dental
posted by kinetic at 9:40 AM on November 6, 2014

People cancel all the time - call the receptionist at 9:30 every day. Also, highlight your pain as well as your travel plans, and let them know you'd be fine with a temporary solution until after your trip. (They really should be able to either take you, if it's an emergency, or refer you to someone, though :( )
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:45 AM on November 6, 2014

This doesn't sound like an emergency unless you are in a lot of pain. Like a ZabeLeeZoo said this can be left for a long period of time (again unless you are in bad pain). I'd phone and let the dentist know to please call you if anyone cancels but otherwise just go to your Nov 20 appointment. That filling will be ripped out and replaced with a new one so there is really nothing to save.
posted by thegoldfish at 1:23 PM on November 6, 2014

I can't say I recommend this, but a housemate of mine once stuck their filling back in with a tiny dab of silicone sealant (after cleaning their mouth and drying the tooth).

Housemate saw the dentist fairly soon after, and the dentist didn't say he recommended it either, but seemed to regard it as a somewhat amusing and clever thing to have done that did not cause any issues for taking the old filling out and replacing it.

I felt that the edge of the filling closest to the inside of my jaw had started to pull away from the enamel

As someone who has had a number of cavities develop underneath existing fillings, I wouldn't be so sure that's what's happening. But the fix is pretty much the same, you get a filling. Maybe a root canal too if it's a really bad cavity.
posted by yohko at 1:52 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

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