Temporary Tooth Filling

Fillings are used by dentists to restore teeth that have been damaged by fractures, cavities, and other forms of decay or trauma. Usually, fillings are designed to last years or even decades. In these cases, composite resins, amalgams, and even porcelain are used to fill in the gaps that have been created in one’s teeth. At times, though, there isn’t time to provide the right filling in the moment. In these cases, temporary fillings can be used to protect the area from further damage and prevent continuing or increasing pain until a permanent filling can be provided. These are made from materials like glass ionomers or zinc phosphate cement.

Common Uses for Temporary Fillings

One of the most common uses for temporary fillings is to provide temporary relief for a cavity that cannot yet be filled due to scheduling constraints. Because temporary fillings are quicker and less painstaking work than permanent fillings, your dentist might have time to do a temporary filling but not a permanent one; the temporary filling should provide some relief while you wait. If multiple cavities need to be filled, temporary fillings can also provide a necessary stopgap, as the work will have to be done over the course of a series of visits.

Likewise, your dentist may choose to create a temporary filling instead of placing a permanent crown. This is a temporary measure designed to both protect the site and reduce pain until a permanent crown can be placed. Following a root canal that requires both a filling and a crown, this is also an effective way to provide a temporary fix to both problems until there is enough time to address them both adequately.

Finally, temporary fillings can also be used as a means of calming irritated or sensitive nerves before creating a permanent filling. Medications can be added to temporary fillings to help speed this process along, allowing for some healing to take place before a permanent filling is created.

How to Care for a Temporary Filling

Caring for a temporary filling at home is fairly simple; the most important thing is to take care not to eat particularly hard, brittle, or tough foods, as they can stress the materials and cause damage to the filling. If you have a delicate temporary filling on one side of your mouth, it might be helpful to restrict most of your chewing to the other side, as a protective measure.

While you can and should continue to practice good oral hygiene while you have a temporary filling, you should take care to brush and floss more gently than usual. You’ll want to take special care while flossing around temporary fillings that are on the side of a tooth; sliding the floss along the side of the neighboring tooth will help to not disturb the temporary filling too much.

If you suspect that your temporary filling has come loose or fallen out, call your dentist as soon as possible; they’ll be able to put it back in place quickly, which will help minimize any problems that could result from the area being left uncovered.

Tooth Pain After Filling

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