Temporary Filling – Dental Treatment

Introduction –Temporary Filling

A filling is a technique used to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives a filling to the patient, first the decayed tooth material is removed, the affected area is cleaned, and then the cleaned out cavity is filled with a filling material. A filling also helps prevent further decay by closing off spaces where bacteria can enter. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (also known as tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (which is an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and zinc sometimes).

A temporary filling might be beneficial as it might make the tooth feel good.
A temporary filling may make patient feel better. This happens because the filling seals the tooth, protecting the pulp from bacteria and thus reducing its sensitivity. Temporary fillings often contain an ingredient in over-the-counter toothache remedies- called eugenol. It is also a component of oil of cloves, which people use as a remedy for toothache pain. As the name suggests, temporary fillings are not meant to last. Usually, they fall out, fracture or wear out within a month or two. If you get a temporary filling, make sure you visit your dentist to get a permanent one. If you don’t, your tooth could become infected or you could have other problems.

The procedure - Temporary Filling

  • Dentist applies anaesthesia to the region of affected tooth
  • The decaying material is removed from the affected tooth using a drill or a hand tool. Then air abrasions and lasers are used to brush out the decay.
  • Dentists need to make the tooth with an acid gel before the final filling is placed in it in case the dentist is using a bonded filling.
  • A technique called etching is used which makes tiny holes in the tooth’s enamel surface. By this, the filling is able to bond tightly to the tooth. Bonded fillings are far better as there is less of a chance of the risk of leakage or decay under the filling. The etched surface of the tooth and the filling material go on to form a mechanical bond. Composite fillings usually require bonding.

Some fillings are hardened using a special light. When the dentist is using this kind of filling then they will stop several times to use a bright light on the resin. This goes on to harden the material and makes it strong. Lastly, after the filling has been fixed into place, the dentist uses burs to give the tooth the final finish and polishing touch.

Need for Temporary Fillings

One may receive a temporary filling which is usually white, off-white or gray in following conditions-

  • When the patient needs emergency dental treatment
  • When the dentist wants to wait for a short period of time for the tooth to heal
  • When a patient has a deep cavity and the pulp (which contains the nerve and blood vessels) gets exposed during treatment
  • When the treatment requires more than one sitting

A temporary filling might be beneficial as it might make the tooth feel good. The filling goes on to seal the tooth and not allow it to come in contact with bacteria and also lessens the sensitivity.

One needs to understand that it is a temporary filling and it is not going to last. It will fall out or wear off in a short span of a few weeks. Therefore the patient must visit the dentist to replace it with a permanent one. If the patient doesn’t do that than the tooth will be become further infected and result in more concerns.

- Link of interest: Twitter Temporary Filling – Dental Treatment.


This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.

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