Your Guide to Temporary Dental Fillings

If you are about to undergo a dental procedure, you might have heard your dentist speak about a “temporary filling”. You might be at a loss of what this exactly means, considering you’re supposed to get a permanent filling to strengthen and support your teeth.

Thankfully, we have this in-depth guide on temporary dental fillings and how they can help you.

Everything You Need to Know About Temporary Dental Fillings

Restoration of teeth after endodontic treatment

What are Temporary Dental Fillings?

The name says it all – these are dental fillings used to restore and protect a damaged tooth until the dentist applies a permanent filling.

In many cases, these fillings can last several weeks or longer, as long as you take care of them. It does vary from person to person, so it can be difficult to decipher the exact timeframe in which it lasts. But it’s temporary, which means your dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment with you to continue treatment.

They are used in numerous procedures (more listed below) and can be made in various materials, including resins, porcelain, or dental amalgam. Your dentist can customize your temporary filling to suit your aesthetic needs depending on what you would like.

Ther are also sedative or medicated fillings, which are similar but are used to kill bacteria within the tooth.

What Procedures Would Need Temporary Dental Fillings?

You might find that your dentist uses temporary fillings in numerous situations, the most common including:

  • An urgent filling where you’ve lost, cracked or damaged your tooth. Damage to the enamel of your tooth can also require a temporary filling.
  • Treatments that require multiple procedures can benefit from having temporary fillings, as it saves the dentist time removing and replacing them.
  • For a cavity that causes severe, sharp pain and needs some protection before more work is required.
  • As a placeholder for dental crowns and root canals, the filling can protect your tooth before the crown is made. It is commonly used in root canals by sealing up the tooth hole to prevent bacteria from entering. In some cases, you will be provided with a temporary crown.
  • Eliminate tooth nerve pain and sensitivity. In situations like these, medicated fillings will be used to allow the tooth to heal before applying a more permanent solution. It can also be used in root canals if there is an infection.

How Does it Feel to Get a Temporary Filling?

You don’t have to worry – getting a temporary filling feels very much like getting a cavity. Your dentist will numb the area and tooth before removing any damage, infections or cavities. Once the removal is complete, they will fill up the tooth and shape it appropriately. And presto! You’re done!

How Do I Look After Them?

You have to be extremely careful with what you eat and how you brush and floss with a temporary filling. And there’s a good reason for that: temporary fillings are weaker than permanent ones, which means they can break and crack easily. The last thing you want is to go back to the dentist to get a new one.

These eating tips below can help you manage your temporary filling:

  • Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth that has the filling.
  • Avoid hard foods, such as candy, nuts, ice and carrots. Make sure you cook foods, such as veggies and meats, so they are soft and tender to eat.
  • No sticky foods either as they misplace the filling. Avoid chewing gum, toffee and even peanut butter.
  • Eat slowly and bite down hard on your filling.

As for your oral hygiene, make a note of the following tips:

  • Use soft toothbrushes
  • Brush gently around the filling
  • Be careful when you floss; pull out the floss gently from the side, so that you do not pull against the filling itself

Your dentist will provide you with more in-depth details on how you look after your temporary filling, based on your lifestyle and treatment plan.

…And if My Temporary Dental Filling Fall Out?

If you’ve managed your eating and oral hygiene routine during this period, then you should be able to visit your next appointment with your filling still intact. However, misfortune can strike, and your filling might have broken or fallen out. So, what do you do?

Immediately contact your dentist to get your dental filling replaced. Leaving your tooth exposed can result in problems, such as bacteria growth or further cracks in the exposed tooth.

Make sure that you visit a dentist who has the experience to handle various types of teeth filling procedures while offering personalized advice and care. We recommend Dr. Tracy Mulhall, full-service practice offering treatments in all areas of dentistry. Her entire team is dedicated to your oral health.

We hope that this guide helps you understand the importance of temporary filling and how you can manage them.