You're enjoying the start of a nice weekend, perhaps eating popcorn at the movies or having brunch on a lazy morning, when you hear and feel a crack in your mouth. The culprit is likely a broken crown or filling. Although the initial damage is likely to be relatively painless, the exposed nerve in the tooth along with any bacteria that makes its way inside could quickly lead to a painful infection. Fortunately, the following guide can help you avoid this while you wait for the dental office to open on Monday morning.
Retrieve the crown or filling
Hopefully, you didn't instinctively swallow when you felt the crack. With luck, you should be able to retrieve the crown or filling. It's especially helpful if you can save the crown, since your dentist may be able to salvage it -- saving you the cost and wait for a new crown. Clean the crown or filling with clear water. Also, if you decide to finish your meal, make a point of not chewing on the side with the damaged tooth. You don't want to make the situation worse!
Rinse the area thoroughly
After you are done eating, you need to make sure there are no food debris stuck in the damaged tooth. Rinse your mouth out well with water. If you choose to brush, do so carefully so that you don't irritate the tooth. You can also use a small amount of mouthwash to help keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria. You will need to repeat this hygiene procedure after every meal, snack, and non-water beverage you have, at least until you can get to a dentist. Food residue in a damaged tooth will attract bacteria, which can then lead to pain.
Make a temporary repair
You can take further steps to protect your tooth until you can get to the dentist. If you were able to retrieve the crown or filling, and if it is in good condition, you can get a temporary dental adhesive from a pharmacy. This adhesive will only hold for a few days, but it is perfect for use in this situation. Make sure your tooth is clean, then place a small amount of the adhesive on the crown and set it in place. If you don't have the crown, another option is to get dental wax, a product sold for those that wear braces. You can smooth a small amount of the wax over the damaged tooth to form a barrier. You will need to reapply it throughout the day, though, as it will wear off.
Contact a dental office like Northwest Dental Services and Implant Center as soon as possible so you can get the damage repaired more permanently.