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broken tooth filling sydney

Broken Tooth Filling — How Long Should You Wait?

So, you’ve broken a tooth filling. It can happen to anyone and usually occurs totally out of the blue. 

Breaking a dental filling is never fun. Suddenly there’s something hard in your mouth that isn’t food. 

What should you do? Is it a dental emergency? Should you call an emergency dentist, just in case?

First of all, don’t panic. A cracked or broken dental filling is a pretty common issue. When dental fillings suddenly pop out or crack, they’re not always considered a dental emergency. That said, it’s crucial to visit an emergency dentist within a day or two because tooth decay beneath the filling could spread or worsen, causing a dental infection. Alternatively, the tooth could chip further and break down. 


You’ve broken a tooth filling. How long can it wait?

You could be dealing with a dental emergency if you’re in severe pain from exposed tissue. Don’t worry. At No Gaps Dental, we keep a few appointments free during the day for patients needing urgent dental care. 

filling dental emergency sydneyIf a dental filling falls out, but you’re not in pain, we don’t class it as an immediate dental emergency. In other words, there’s no need to see you the same day. However, we do need to see you as soon as possible. You still need to visit an emergency dentist, but the situation isn’t critical. 

Dental fillings are extremely strong and typically last around ten years, but it’s not uncommon for them to crack or fall out because of wear and tear. When you think about it, dental fillings get a strenuous workout as you eat, chew, or clench and grind your teeth. All of this activity can result in a broken tooth filling


How to know your dental filling is broken?

By being aware of the signs of a chipped tooth or broken filling, you’ll know to visit your dentist for an assessment, avoiding the need to call an emergency dentist. Three signs to look out for include:

  • Your tooth feels sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, and you may experience a sudden sharp pain that usually disappears within a few seconds. You may even find you avoid eating on the side of the mouth where the affected tooth is. 
  • You may hear a slight crack when you bite into something too hard and feel a small hard object in your mouth. 
  • When you run your tongue over your tooth, you can feel a slight indentation, hole or crack. The cavity or crack may also catch on the surrounding tissues (lips, tongue, cheeks), causing them to feel sore.  


What should I do about a broken tooth filling? 

If you think you have a cracked or broken dental filling, please make an appointment to see a No Gaps dentist so they can assess the damage and discuss the best approach for restoring your tooth. 



What to do before your dentist appointment?

Aside from pain treatment, there’s not much you can do to treat broken fillings. Over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen and Paracetamol may ease the pain if your tooth hurts. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water also helps to clean the area and prevent infection. If your face is swollen, try applying a cold compress to reduce the swelling. 

If you have to wait a couple of days before visiting your emergency dentist, you could always purchase some dental cement from your local store and cover the affected area. 


Emergency Dental Appointment – What to Expect

When you visit the experienced dental team at No Gaps Dental, an X-ray will be taken by the dentist to view the extent of the damage and identify any other potential issues. Hopefully, all we’ll need to do is replace the dental filling. Even if you don’t have pain, we will still need to fill the tooth and discuss the choice of filling materials. 

In most cases, a broken tooth filling can be restored. The type of filling a dentist will recommend for repairing the tooth depends on the extent of damage and the tooth’s location. Amalgam is a popular filling choice for back molars that must withstand considerable pressure from chewing. In contrast, composite tooth-coloured resin is preferred for front teeth in the smile line. 


What if the whole of the tooth is cracked?

Sometimes a broken tooth filling results in a chipped or cracked tooth. Again, don’t panic. Call our emergency dentist for a same-day appointment. Fortunately, there are several options for restoring a cracked or chipped tooth. In brief, they are:

dental filling issue sydneyDental crown Dental crowns are a great solution to cracked teeth and sit over the whole of the visible tooth to protect and strengthen it. They are thicker than veneers and restore appearance and functionality. Crowns come in various materials, including porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, stainless steel, and gold. 

Bonding – This is a less invasive procedure for a cracked or chipped tooth. It involves smoothing tooth-coloured composite material over the tooth’s surface and shaping it to resemble a tooth before hardening it with a special blue light.

Veneers – These are custom-made covers for the front surface of chipped or cracked teeth and can be crafted from composite or porcelain. 

Root canal – a broken or cracked tooth can cause infection, in which case root canal therapy may be necessary, followed by a dental crown.

Dental implant If the tooth is beyond repair, it may have to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant. 

Our dentists will be happy to discuss your best repair options considering your dental needs, preference, and budget. 


Do you have a broken tooth filling? 

At No Gaps Dental, our dentists leave time in their daily schedules for dental emergencies or dislodged or broken dental fillings. If you have a dental concern or the signs of a damaged tooth filling, call us on (02) 8007 6727 today for help.




Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. 






Queensland Government – Emergency Dental

Healthline – How Long do Dental Fillings Last?

St John Ambulance – How to Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack



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