A temporary filling kit can help when you need a dental repair but can't get to a dentist straight away. Whether you've lost an old filling or crown, or a tooth has chipped or broken, a DIY tooth filling kit can temporarily restore the tooth and ease any pain.
Of course, a dental repair kit isn’t a long-term replacement for a dentist. Any dental issue that requires you to do a temporary tooth filling will always require a dentist visit at some point, and the sooner the better. But if you can't get an appointment straight away for whatever reason, using a dental repair kit could be a solution.
DIY fillings and other home dentistry isn’t ideal and there are some risks involved. So to help you make an informed choice about emergency dental kits, we’re going to explore:
- How to get an emergency tooth filling and other treatments
- What at-home dental repairs may be possible
- Whether home repairs can be effective
- How to use a filling or crown repair kit
- Where to buy a tooth repair kit in a hurry
We'll also answer some other common questions about home fillings and other temporary repairs.
Table of contents
How do I get a temporary tooth filling and other emergency dentistry?
It always best to leave certain things to the professionals, and dentistry is one of them. Things don't always go as planned though though, and getting an appointment with a dentist in your area can take time.
However, your first port of call if you have a dental emergency is to speak with a dentist. They’re best placed to decide if you need urgent care. You can also call the NHS 111 helpline to get further advice. Usually, you’ll be told to see someone quickly if:
- You’re in a lot of pain
- You experience swelling
- There’s a lot of bleeding
- You're having trouble breathing
- You’ve had a trauma that damaged your teeth
Our dental emergency article explains more about what constitutes an emergency and what to do if you are in one of these situations. You might also want to read about some home remedies for toothache.
Not everything is urgent though, even if it is uncomfortable or unsightly. Sometimes you can use short-term fixes like dental filling kits or temporary tooth kits to get you through to your next appointment.
If you're having trouble getting hold of a dentist near you, another option is to chat to a dentist at JustAnswer. Their US-based dentists are available 24/7 and can advise on the best course of action for your situation.
What teeth repairs can be done at home?
Dentistry is a complicated skill that takes years to perfect. You might think you know what the problem with your teeth is, but only a dentist can tell you for sure. Saying that, if you can’t get to one right away there are some issues you can deal with yourself.
Although permanent tooth filling kits in the UK are available, we advise against them. There are a lot of risk, including making the cavity in your tooth worse because bacteria gets stuck under the filling and keeps destroying your tooth.
We’re going to go through the main temporary dental fixes you can undertake at home whilst waiting to get to your dentist. You can also read our separate guide to chipped and broken teeth repair, which explains more about the possible long-term treatment options.
Tooth fillings at home
There are a few reasons that you might need to perform a home-made tooth filling. You can reach for a temporary filling kit to ease your suffering if:
- Your filling fell out and a temporary fix is needed
- You’ve chipped a tooth and it’s causing pain on your cheek or tongue
- You develop a cavity that causes pain and sensitivity
A filling repair kit contains a putty-like material that you compress into the spot in question using the tool provided. Each brand of dental filling kit works slightly differently, so be sure to read all the instructions for the one you buy.
Temporary tooth filling kits can be quite effective short-term, but they do have some downsides:
- The colour is very unlikely to match your teeth
- They’re tough to use on your front teeth
- They might affect your bite when used on your back teeth
- You may have tooth decay that needs to be treated
- If bacteria gets under the DIY tooth filling, any decay will accelerate
All of this means that a temporary filling kit should be – as the name suggests – only a temporary fix while you wait to see a dentist.
Buying a filling repair kit
One of the most popular products for completing a tooth cavity filling at home is Dentek. The Dental First Aid Kit that they make comes with:
- Eugenol for cleaning and pain relief
- Temparin Max to do the filling
- A tooth saver to store any broken teeth
- An applicator tool
A reviewer on Amazon said about the Dentek filling kit, “As a temporary fix it works wonderfully. It helped keep me pain (nearly) free until I could get to the dentist.”
This is the type of kit that’d be handy when you travel, since most travel insurance only covers you for dental pain relief. If you lost a filling whilst overseas, you’d be on your own without a filling repair kit.
It's also a good solution if you are looking for an emergency dental kit to treat a problem that has just occurred, since you can get it delivered very quickly from Amazon.
Here, a YouTuber talks you through how to use the Dentek Temporary Tooth Repair kit, although this is a different version that doesn’t come with the tooth saver or eugenol.
Repairing a damaged tooth at home
A chipped tooth can be really annoying. The sharp edges left behind can rub against your cheek and cause mouth ulcers or graze your tongue as you eat and speak.
It’s something that a dentist would be able to fix in a few different ways, but when that’s not an option right away you can use a dental repair kit on a broken tooth. It should smooth off the sharp edges for you and relieve any tooth sensitivity you might have from deeper parts of your tooth being exposed.
You might struggle to do a major repair on one of your front teeth with a filling kit. The material doesn’t bond to your teeth in the same way that dental glue used by a dentist does, and it’s not as strong. Sticking to soft foods will help it last that bit longer, but it's best to try and avoiding biting with the tooth altogether.
If you've lost all or most of a front tooth, a temporary tooth kit may help in the short term. We've got more information about these later on.
Using a crown repair kit
A dental crown is designed to be a long-lasting tooth restoration. It should fit snugly over your tooth and last for 5 years or more if you take good care of it. It’s possible for a crown to come loose if:
- You take a knock to your jaw
- You’ve been grinding your teeth
- There’s decay under the crown
- It’s an old crown and the adhesive is wearing away
Whatever the reason, you should see a dentist if your crown is loose or has fallen out completely.
Buying crown cement over-the-counter
Toofypegs make an Emergency Temporary Repair Kit that includes cement to fix loose crowns. It comes with two capsules of cement, enough for two applications, which you need to mix before use. The Toofypegs instructions say to use a drop of water to mix a tub of cement. They really do mean a drop, so don’t put too much in!
As a crown repair kit, it works well on both permanent and temporary tooth caps. A recent Amazon reviewer wrote, “I bought this to fix a porcelain crown that fell out. It was easy to use and the crown feels like it's there to stay. I'd definitely buy again.”
Do note that despite this reviewer's optimism, these crown and filling repair kits are only a short-term fix.
Temporary tooth replacement kits
Losing a tooth is never a pleasant experience. A back tooth falling out is maybe a little less traumatic since people are less likely to see it all the time. Losing a front tooth is a whole different matter.
Having a missing tooth can be the result of many things:
- Your denture got lost or is broken
- You had an accident that knocked it out
- It's fallen out because of decay, gum disease or infection
To temporarily fill the gap and make it less obvious that you're missing a tooth, you can buy a temporary tooth kit.
A popular product designed for this purpose is Temptooth Temporary Tooth Replacement Kit. It works by melting down plastic beads and forming them into the shape of the missing tooth. You should take the tooth out while you sleep, but it can last for weeks or even months if made correctly. One kit contains enough material for up to 10 false teeth.
“Miraculous,” is how one reviewer on Amazon described Temptooth, going on to say, “When a front crown falls out with no hope of getting to a dentist, you despair! Temp tooth to the rescue!! So happy I found it as it’s amazing, I couldn’t understand how it could possibly work but it really does, it’s fantastic and has stopped me looking like Nanny McPhee.”
The tooth you make probably won't look completely natural, but it should make you less self-conscious until you can get to a dentist for a longer-term solution.
Do emergency dental kits work?
Although not a perfect solution, doing a tooth filling at home or other urgent work can be effective. You will need to take great care when eating though; hard, crunchy, chewy and sticky foods are probably best avoided if you want your dental repair to last.
The main purpose of temporary filling kits and other emergency DIY treatments is to relieve pain and improve your aesthetics. A home-made temporary tooth filling might last for a month or two, but it will eventually wear down or fall out.
The biggest risk with using a tooth repair kit is that you delay getting treatment for any underlying problems. In particular, tooth decay will get worse over time if you don't see a dentist. Additionally, a crown cemented at home will only last so long before it needs to be professionally re-cemented or replaced.
Also, there’s a chance that you could make your DIY dental filling too big, which could cause lasting problems. When you get a filling at the dentist, they make sure that your bite is ok after the work is finished. If you make your temporary filling too big, your teeth won’t sit right and you could end up with:
- Jaw pain
- Wobbly teeth
- Damage to surrounding teeth
To help you decide whether to use a tooth repair kit before you can get to a dentist, here is a summary of the pros and cons:
Pros of DIY temporary fillings, etc
Cons of DIY temporary fillings, etc
Temporary pain relief
Can easily fall out or break if not done correctly
Could cause long term problems if not done right
Relatively simple to use
Increased chances of decay under the filling
Stops cosmetic concerns
Difficult to get an exact colour match
Money, time, and life can all get in the way of getting to the dentist right away. Using one of the quick fixes mentioned here should do little harm if you use them as intended. It's also not a bad idea to have an emergency dental kit as part of your travel essentials, since problems always seem to unfold at the worst times!
If you’re in a lot of pain, you experience bleeding, or there’s a lot of swelling, be sure to seek immediate medical attention.
Can I get a permanent tooth filling kit in the UK?
Although there are places to buy kits that claim to offer a permanent solution, they’re best avoided. Tooth cavity filling at home could trap bacteria under the filling. Leaving a home-made filling there for years without professional attention could cause untold future problems.
How do you glue a tooth back in your mouth?
The short answer is that you don’t. If a tooth comes out completely, you may be able to gently place it back in the socket while you arrange emergency dental care (unless it's a child's milk tooth). But you should never try to glue a tooth back in. An alternative is to store the lost tooth or any broken pieces in milk or your own saliva while you seek dental care. It may be possible for the dentist to save the tooth.
If going to a dentist isn’t an option in the immediate future, you can use a temporary filling kit to cover the problem from a cosmetic perspective.
How much will I pay for an emergency dentist appointment?
NHS dental charges in an emergency are the same as normal appointments. Private practices can set their own charges, and dental insurance usually covers emergency situations.
When you’re in a lot of pain, bleeding a lot, or have swelling that's affecting your breathing you should get to a dentist rather than trying to use a home dental kit. You can contact NHS111 to find a local emergency dentist or call your own private practice.
Can you fix a loose crown at home?
It's best to see a dentist if you have a problem with a crown. If your crown has come off completely, some temporary dental cement can help keep it in place until your appointment. Your DIY crown repair might affect your bite, so be careful eating so as to avoid any further damage.
The Guardian: The rise of DIY dentistry: Britons doing their own fillings to avoid NHS bill. Consulted 4th May 2020.