When I was a kid I chipped one of my back teeth. I don’t remember exactly what happened but the dentist always asks about it. They always want to keep an eye on it but so far is hasn’t been treated. Well, it is kind of beginning to be sensitive to temperature changes while I’m eating and drinking. And when I took a closer look, I think the chip has kind of gotten bigger. Food is starting to get stuck on it now. I haven’t been to the dentist for awhile, so I guess it may be time to go in for a visit. I was at the drug store last week and browsed the oral care aisle. I saw some filling material that can be used at home. Do you think this will take care of it?
– Dan in Idaho
It sounds like it is time to schedule a dentist appointment. The store-bought filling material you are referencing is for temporary use. You can pick these up at local drug stores in the dental supply section. These different products are good for keeping a broken or cracked tooth in tact until you can get into the dentist. But it should not be used in place of seeking treatment.
Based on the information you provided, it sounds like the chip in your tooth has gotten larger and is likely decaying. If you are noticing sensitivity to hot and cold, there is a possibility the decay has actually reached the inside pulp of the tooth. This could mean that you may require a root canal treatment. So even if you don’t have a toothache at the moment, you need to get into the dentist to have your tooth evaluated. You don’t want to mess around and put off treatment because if the decay has reached the pulp, you may have an infection inside the tooth. This will not go away on its own. An infected tooth that is left untreated can very easily turn into a dental emergency.
So while the filling material may be used temporarily to help keep food out of the area in question, it cannot be stressed enough that you it should not substitute a dental visit. The sooner you get into the dentist, the more likely your need will be addressed more conservatively which typically means more economically. All this is not being said to scare you, but to let you know the importance of seeking treatment as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary complication.
This post is sponsored by York PA dentist Donald H. Currie, DMD General & Cosmetic Dentistry.