Emergency teeth fillings

Dentemp is a traditional dental combination of zinc oxide and eugenol (clove oil) mixed when needed to make a temporary tooth patch for lost cavity filling, or to re-cement a cap or inlaid on a tooth. It’s strong enough that you’ll need to have a dentist remove it later. Since an emergency Dentemp kit weighs less than an ounce, it should be part of your traveling or backpacking kit. You can get it at almost any drug store.


In the 5 years since this article was first posted, Dentemp has changed. It is no longer a paste that you mix up yourself, it’s now already mixed in a small blue vial. The last time I used it I took out a small amount from the vial, you really only need a small amount, do not use too much or it will not work!

Step 1. Rinse your mouth out with lukewarm water, tooth area must be wet.
Step 2. Take a small amount out of the vial, ball it up between your WET index finger and thumb.
Step 3. Take a small balled-up Dentemp and pack it in the cavity by pushing it down and into the cavity.
Step 4. Bite down semi-hard and count to 5.
Step 5. Use WET index finger to pack it in again.
Step 6. Bite down semi-hard again.
Step 7. Use WET index finger to gently rub the excess off of sides of the tooth.
Step 8. Rinse mouth gently with lukewarm water.
Step 9. Wait at least 1 hour before eating or drinking anything.
Step 10. Make an appointment with the dentist within the next 30 days, Dentemp will only hold for 1 month. It is a TEMPORARY filling, NOT permanent.

I really think that those who claim it doesn’t work simply did not properly follow the instructions which are much shorter than what I wrote. But some people need step-by-step instructions or they will totally screw up even this extremely simple to use the product. Using it on dry fingers and a dry tooth, causes it to crumble and fall apart. The instructions clearly state that the mouth and tooth must be wet.

It filled and bonded my lost filling within the hour the package said, and the clove-tasting pain reliever that it uses made the pain from losing the filling, disappear immediately. I could not be happier with the product, and I have at least 3-4 more applications left in the vial, which is great because I can’t get in to see my Dentist until mid-November to get a new filling unless I want to pay the “emergency fees” that most local dentists like to charge people.

It’s going to cost me almost $400 to get a new filling, I simply cannot spare a $250 emergency fee on top of that, so I’ll use the $5 Dentemp until my appointment later this month.

— Kat


(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2004 — editors)

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