Are Temporary Tooth Filling a Permanent Solution To Cavity?

temporary tooth filling

While most people think that our teeth are endlessly durable and immune to any wear and tear, it is still possible to damage your teeth over time. At times the damage becomes severe enough, and your dentist recommends you get a temporary tooth filling to restore the tooth damage.

Some potential reasons for getting dental fillings include:

  • Tooth Decay- This is one of the most common reasons to get tooth filling. Tooth decay is a result of plaque buildup, and it slowly turns sugar present in the mouth into acid, thereby damaging the teeth. Temporary fillings can prevent further tooth decay and fill the holes.
  • Acid Erosion is Acid in the mouth caused by an acidic diet or conditions like acid reflux that can damage tooth enamel and require filling. 
  • Injury-if you have broken or chipped teeth, then your dentist will repair them with tooth fillings.

What is a temporary tooth filling?

A temporary tooth filling is done to restore a damaged tooth to normal condition. The temporary filling does not last and is only a semi-permanent solution to schedule the follow-up appointment with the dentist and later replace it with a permanent one.

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When are temporary fillings used?

Dentists suggest using temporary tooth filling in only certain conditions. The entire process of temporary filling is a lot quicker than permanent filling. Suppose you are suffering from a cavity that can cause sharp pain, and the dentist does not have enough time to complete the entire process of permanent filling. In that case, they use temporary fillings as an emergency resort. 

Temporary cap for dental crowns

The dentist also put a temporary crown cap over the deep cavity. This temporary filling helps to protect the tooth until you get your crown.

Temporary seal after a root canal

A decayed tooth might need a root canal to get rid of any bacteria from the tooth cavity and prevent further damage. A temporary filling helps seal the hole in the tooth and prevents bacteria and food from getting trapped, thereby minimizing further damage. 

Once the root canal heals, the dentist will replace the temporary filling with a permanent tooth filling. 

Temporary medicated filling to settle sensitive nerves.

If your tooth is very sensitive, your dentist will use temporary tooth filling to settle down the nerves and let your tooth heal before replacing it with a permanent filling.

Your dentist will reevaluate your tooth on the next appointment and make sure that all the pain goes away without requiring any further treatment, such as a root canal. 

What’s a temporary filling made of?

Temporary tooth fillings do not last for a long time. These are made with soft material which can be easily removed. Sometimes this material hardens when mixed with saliva.

Some common materials used for temporary tooth filling are:

  • zinc oxide eugenol
  • intermediate restorative materials
  • zinc phosphate cement
  • Cavit
  • glass ionomers

A permanent filling is made to match the color of your tooth. On the other hand, temporary ones have different colors, allowing the dentist to locate them and replace them with permanent ones easily. Usually, temporary fillings are gray, white with blue and pink tints, or bright white.

How long does a temporary filling last?

Semi-permanent or temporary tooth filling breaks down gradually over time. As they are made of softer material, they can crack and fall out when not replaced with a permanent one.

The life of a semi-permanent filling varies from person to person. On average, the material can last for a few weeks to a few months. You can ask the dentist about how long you should wait before getting the temporary filling done.

The complete procedure for putting in a temporary filling:

The entire process of getting temporary fillings taken a maximum of 30 minutes. Below is a complete breakdown of steps:

  • Your dentist will first numb your gums and surrounding area using a numbing agent. 
  • Using a drill, the dentist will then remove the decay and perform a root canal along with other dental procedures if required. 
  • Then the dentist will mix the filling agent and press this material into your tooth cavity, and spread it in all the corners. Your dentist will continue adding more material until the cavity is completely filled.
  • The final step is to soothe any excess filling and reshaping the tooth.

After-care for a temporary filling:

A temporary tooth filling is not as durable as the permanent ones; this means that you will have to take extra care of the fillings to make sure that your tooth remains in good condition until you visit the dentist again.

After getting the filling done, your dentist will give specific instructions like avoiding eating from the side of the mouth for a few hours post-appointment. Temporary filling takes some time to dry out completely.

In some cases, they may also tell you to avoid eating from the treated side until you get a permanent filling. Depending on the material, chewing a lot like nuts, hard candies, and ice can break the material and cause it to fall out.

Avoid damaging the tooth filling, and brush very carefully. Also, try to keep your tongue away from filling. Touching the feeling constantly can loosen it.

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Possible side effects of having a temporary tooth filling

When it’s time to remove the temporary filling, your dentist may numb the tooth and use a drill to remove the semi-permanent filling. This procedure does not cause any pain or discomfort usually; however, you may experience sensitivity after the procedure is completed. 

If you do not get a permanent filling, the material will eventually break down, exposing the cavity again. This can also develop a bacterial infection in the cavity hole.

There is also a slight risk of allergic reaction to the material used for temporary filling. Allergies to the material are not very common; however, some signs of allergic reaction are rash, itching, and swelling in the surrounding area.

Can I eat normal food after semi-permanent tooth filling?

Before resorting to your normal eating habits, you must first consult with your dentist. They may ask you to avoid eating from the treated side for a few hours or until they replace it with a permanent filling.

What if the filling breaks or falls out?

If you take proper care of your temporary filling, then it might last until your next appointment with the dentist. 

However, in some cases, the fillings may break and fall out; in such cases, you need to get an appointment booked with your dentist and get the filling replaced as soon as possible. 

With proper oral hygiene practices and after-care practices, you will be able to keep the filling set in place.

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A temporary tooth filling is an excellent way to protect your damaged tooth until you get a permanent filling done. These are not meant to last, so make sure to get follow-up appointments and get permanent filling done soon. This will ensure that your teeth are protected from any infection or decay.

We hope you have learned everything about temporary tooth filling. If you find this article informative, do not forget to leave comments below.