Temporary tooth fillings are not uncommon, and are often required before a permanent filling or crown can be placed.
A temporary filling is used to seal a tooth for a specified amount of time, usually several weeks but could also be several months. If you have a broken tooth, a cavity, or an area that has succumbed to decay, your dentist may choose to fill it with a soft material until filing it permanently in the future.
There are a number of reasons why you may need a temporary filling. The most common time a temporary filling is placed on a tooth is after a root canal, prior to a permanent filling as the area heals. Other reasons include:
- Immediate sensitivity relief
- Dental emergency in case of a chip, crack, or severe toothache
- Extensive or deep cavities in the instance that more time will be required to remove all of the decayed material
For some, temporary fillings are usually more affordable than permanent ones so they may opt for a momentary filling until either insurance is provided or payment can be made.
Since it’s only a temporary measure to help protect your tooth from further decay or infection, there are several things you should be wary of to help keep the seal in place:
- Be careful where and what you chew: Try to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that contains the temporary filling. Of course, it’s easy to forget about your filling, so be mindful of not chewing anything that’s hard, crunchy, or chewy like nuts, gum, and toffee.
- Brush and floss with care: Be sure to brush and floss gently, especially around the filling. Rather than pulling up when you floss, floss from side to side to avoid accidentally snagging the filling.
If you take proper care of your filling and practice a good oral hygiene routine, your temporary tooth filling should stay in place. However, if it starts to loosen or is completely removed prior to your next dental visit, call your dental professional right away to avoid infection.
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