Temporary Dental Filling

Temporary Dental Filling

Many of us probably think that our teeth are always strong and easy to take care of, but it is still possible to hurt them or wear them down over time. In some cases, the damage or wear may be bad enough that your dentist will suggest a filling to fix the tooth and stop any more problems. 1

There are many reasons why you might need a filling:

Loss of teeth: This is the main reason people need fillings. Tooth decay happens when plaque builds up on your teeth and turns the sugars in your mouth into acid. This acid then hurts your teeth. 2 When tooth decay gets bad enough to make holes in the teeth, people often need fillings (cavities).

Acid erosion: Acids in the mouth from a diet high in acidic foods or from conditions like acid reflux can damage the enamel on your teeth, causing you to need a filling.

Injury: If you have a broken or chipped tooth, your dentist might be able to fix it with a filling.

What Is A Temporary Dental Filling?

If your dentist says you need a filling, you will have to get a permanent one at some point. But in some cases, your dentist may give you a temporary filling first. Your dentist will take this out at a later time and put in a permanent filling in its place.

Temporary fillings are not the same as permanent ones in several ways:


Temporary fillings aren’t meant to last as long as permanent ones, so you should always keep your follow-up appointment with your dentist to have a temporary filling switched out for a permanent one.


Permanent fillings can be made of metal (these are called “amalgam” fillings, and people usually choose them because they last a long time—20 to 40 years if you take care of your teeth!) or almost the same color as your teeth. These fillings are called “composite.” Temporary fillings, on the other hand, are made to look different from your teeth so that your dentist can tell when it’s time to take them out and put in a permanent filling.


Temporary fillings are more likely to break than permanent ones, so you need to be more careful with them (for example when brushing and flossing your teeth).

Your dentist may fill your tooth temporarily:

  • if you have a painful cavity and your dentist doesn’t have time to give you a permanent filling, as a temporary fix.
  • while a crown for your tooth is being made.
  • before putting in a permanent filling, to let the tooth heal or settle (for example, after a root canal).

What are Temporary Dental Fillings Used For? 

Temporary Dental Filling

Temporary fillings are only utilized in specific cases, and patients are always informed that more treatment will be required. In the meanwhile, patients can continue typical activities such as eating, drinking, and talking until their replacement is arranged. Here are some examples of when a dentist might use a temporary dental filling:

Pain Control in an Emergency

A toothache caused by a cavity or a damaged or missing filling may prompt a patient to the dentist for immediate treatment. If the visit is after hours or the dentist is cramming the patient into an already crowded schedule, there may not be enough time to complete the entire treatment. In the interim, a temporary infill will suffice.

If a patient has an emergency while traveling, they may need to see someone other than their normal dentist for care. It might make sense to obtain a temporary filling right away and then wait until they arrive home so that their regular dentist can complete the permanent restoration.

With a Provisional Crown

Crowns are used to cover teeth that are too damaged to support a standard filling. They can be used alone or as part of a root canal surgery. First, a dentist will remove all sick and decaying tissue. The nerves and blood vessels in the tooth’s center are also removed during a root canal operation. On top, a realistic-looking crown is affixed.

A permanent crown can take many weeks to create in a lab. Until then, the dentist can fill the tooth with a temporary filling and cover it with a temporary crown. The alternative is to leave a gaping hole, which is unhealthy, ugly, and potentially painful.

Sensitivity to Nerves

If there is significant sensitivity or pain in the exposed nerve with a cavity or during a procedure, a sedative filling, a sort of temporary filling, may be employed. This dental cement contains medicine to ease pain and is made of a substance called Zinc Oxide Eugenol. Zinc Oxide Eugenol has the same characteristics as clove oil, which is available in over-the-counter toothache treatments.

A temporary sedative filling can desensitize the tooth, providing much-needed pain relief while maintaining its structure intact until the next surgery.

While Assessing Treatment’s Next Steps

Sometimes the primary purpose of a temporary filling is to stabilize a tooth and keep it from worsening while the dentist determines the best course of action. The nerves and tissues of the tooth will become inflamed if there is an infection (called pulpitis) at the root of the tooth. The temporary filling allows the dentist to evaluate how the tooth is reacting. If the pulpitis is reversible, the tooth may begin to recover, allowing a permanent filling to be placed. Or it could be irreversible pulpitis, necessitating a root canal treatment.

Taking Care of Temporary Fillings

Patients must be careful not to damage or dislodge temporary fillings while they are in situ. They do not last as long as natural teeth or permanent fillings. Typically, the dentist will issue advice that include being careful when brushing and flossing. They may advise avoiding crunchy or chewy foods. Patients should experiment with chewing on the opposite side of their mouth. Even poking the filler with their tongue for a long time could dislodge it.

It is critical to note that these fillings are only intended for temporary use and are not intended to last. Putting off the last process for too long is not a smart idea. Bacteria can enter the tooth and cause further damage if a temporary filling cracks or falls out. And exposed nerves within the hole left behind can be excruciatingly painful.

When Should Temporary Fillings Be Replaced?

Whatever the reason for the temporary filling, these appointments should always conclude with a strategy for what happens next. The dentist will normally want to arrange an appointment within a few weeks to remove and replace the filling. If a crown or root canal is required, it should be done as quickly as feasible.

Taking out temporary fillings is comparable to putting one in. The temporary filling will be removed by the dentist after numbing the area. It is meant to be easily removed, however, some drilling may still be required. Once removed, the permanent filler material is inserted into the hole and molded and sculpted to form a natural-feeling surface, or a permanent crown is attached.

Types of Fillings Material

Temporary Dental Filling

So, what does a temporary filling consist of? Well, there are a number of temporary fillings, such as:

Fillings made of Amalgam Composite

  • Amalgam
  • Composite fillings
  • Glass ionomer
  • Gold inlays and onlays
  • Porcelain inlays

Amalgam filling

Fillings made of amalgam are silver in color. These fillings last a long time and are tough. Most of the time, it can last between 15 and 20 years. Most of the time, this type of filling is used on the back teeth. So, if you are careful with your money, this type of temporary filling material might be the best for you. Mostly because its benefits last a long time and are easy on the wallet.

Composite filling

Composite fillings are made of ceramic resin and are the same color as your teeth. This type of filling is strong, but it may not be as strong as amalgam fillings. After your composite tooth filling is ready, your dentist will bond it to the spot where it needs to go and use light to set it. But this temporary tooth filling material can get stained just like your other teeth.

Glass ionomer filling

Glass ionomer fillings are also tooth-colored and are used to bond with your teeth chemically. This type of filling releases fluoride, which helps keep teeth from getting cavities. But this material isn’t very strong, so it’s only used on baby teeth and the parts of your teeth that don’t touch food.

Inlays and overlays of gold

Most places in your mouth can have gold fillings. Because it is small, an inlay is put inside the biting surface of the tooth. On the other hand, an on-lay can cover a larger section of your tooth. Your dentist will make an impression of the cavity and send it to a lab, where the gold filling will be made. Gold is the strongest and most durable filling material because it doesn’t tarnish and is very strong. This type of material, though, costs more.

Inlays of porcelain

Fillings made of porcelain are the same color as your natural teeth. Your dentist will use digital tools (CAD-CAM) to make porcelain inlays that fit perfectly. This delicate process can be done in just one or two visits. This kind of filling also lasts a long time and is hard to damage. But, compared to other filling materials, it can be quite expensive.

How long does it hurt to have a temporary filling?

Your dentist will probably numb your tooth before using a dental drill or laser on it, so you don’t have to worry about temporary filling pain. So, the procedure usually doesn’t hurt or make the person feel bad. Also, temporary fillings are usually easier to get rid of. But let’s say you don’t go back for your permanent filling. In that case, the temporary filling will break down over time, revealing the hole. This makes the tooth more likely to get sick.

After a temporary filling, you might feel a little bit of pain, but that’s normal and won’t last long. So how long should it hurt to get a filling? Most of the time, pain and sensitivity will go away in a few days or weeks. But sometimes tooth pain after a temporary filling is caused by something else that needs to be fixed right away.

So, call your emergency dentist right away if your temporary filling hurts or if you have signs like redness, fever, or swelling.

How long do I have to wait before I can eat after a filling?

If you’re wondering, “Can I eat after getting a filling?” you’re worried about the right thing. We know how hard it can be to eat again after being full.

So, to answer your question, yes, you can eat after getting a filling. Well, the answer is a little bit harder. What your temporary filling is made of makes a difference. As different types of filling need different amounts of time to harden.

Even though you can eat after getting a cavity filled, you should be very careful about what you eat to avoid extra pain or irritation.

How long do I have to wait before I can eat?

Most of the time, it’s best to wait until the pain and soreness go away before eating. If you don’t want to eat after getting a tooth filled, it’s best to eat before the procedure.

So, how long you should wait after that depends on what you want to eat. After an hour has passed since the filling, you can eat soft foods at room temperature. But foods that are too cold or too hot might not be a good choice. Also, you shouldn’t eat foods that you have to chew for a long time. Talk to your dentist about the best time to eat after getting a filling.

So you now know if you can eat or not after getting a filling. It’s important to know what foods you shouldn’t eat.

Foods not to eat after a filling

In general, it’s best to stay away from hard foods that take a long time to chew. Also, foods that are too hot or too cold can irritate the area and make it take longer for you to heal after a dental filling. Lastly, you should stay away from acidic foods because your mouth is more likely to get sick after a filling.

Temporary fillings need care

It is important to take care of yourself after getting a dental filling if you want it to last longer and not cause any problems. The temporary filling will be put in by your dentist, who will tell you not to put too much pressure on it. Even though there’s no set time, the best temporary filling for a tooth should last between six and eight weeks. Over time, it will slowly break and fall out.

If you do what the dentist says, it will last a little longer. But the fillings need to be replaced at some point. Here are a few tips for taking care of temporary fillers:

  • Eat more soft foods and stay away from things that are sticky or hard, like nuts and candies. Try to chew slowly and cut food with the other side of your mouth.
  • Brushing is important for good oral hygiene, so do it gently with soft bristles.
  • If the tooth has a temporary filling, don’t floss it because it could pull the filling out.


Temporary fillings work well for people who need to fix a cavity quickly. If you think you have a cavity and need to get it filled, you can use our online tool to make an appointment with a dentist near you.






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