Caring for Your Temporary Dental Filling

There are many reasons a dentist may place a temporary dental filling. Perhaps you've just had a root canal, or maybe you're waiting for a gold filling or crown to be made for a problem tooth. Whatever the reason, if you have such a dental filling, you're probably wondering what you can and can't do until your tooth has been permanently fixed.

Given that the filling is temporary, it seems pretty obvious that it must come out more easily than a regular filling, so how do you make sure it stays put until your next dental visit?

Watch What You Chew

Your dentist will tell you that, if at all possible, you should avoid chewing with the side of your mouth that holds the temporary filling.

Temporary fillings may need to last several weeks or more, and during that time, it is easy to forget about your filling and occasionally use it to chew. This shouldn't be a problem; as long as you only chew gently on that side of your mouth, your filling should be fine. There are some foods you should avoid until the temporary filling is removed. Hard, crunchy foods like nuts, chewy toffee and chewing gum are a few examples.

Be Gentle When You Brush and Floss

After you get a temporary filling, you may be somewhat concerned about brushing your teeth, but it's absolutely fine to brush the filled tooth the same way you brush your other teeth. To be safe, use a soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrush, and brush gently, but thoroughly.

Flossing around the newly filled tooth may be tricky. If the filling reaches the edge of your tooth, be extra careful when you floss. Instead of pulling up when you remove the floss from between your teeth, pull it out the side to prevent the floss from snagging on the temporary filling and pulling it out.

As long as you practice care, your temporary dental filling will be durable enough to last until your next visit to the dentist.

Learn more about different types of fillings at the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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What to Expect During a FILLING

  1. Local anesthesia – at the beginning of your filling procedure, you may be given local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth.

  2. Tooth decay removal – then the dentist will cut through the enamel using a drill to remove any decay. After the dentist removes the decay, the dentist will shape the space to ready it for the filling.

  3. Etching – for a bonded filling your dentist will etch the tooth with an acid gel before placing the filling.

  4. Resin application – for certain types of fillings the dentist will layer on the resin and harden it using a bright light. This makes it strong.

  5. Polishing – after the filling has been placed, your dentist will polish the tooth.