Temporary tooth filling

Dentists use temporary fillings in many different scenarios. Sometimes, dentists will place a temporary tooth filling following a root canal procedure, to protect the inside of the tooth while treating it for infection. Certain types of permanent fillings, like those made of gold or porcelain, are known as indirect fillings, meaning that they are sculpted outside of the mouth, based on a mold of the patient’s teeth, and then bonded to the tooth once prepared. Some people get temporary dental fillings to protect a tooth while they’re waiting for an indirect filling, or even a custom dental crown, to be made. Regardless of the reason for your temporary dental filling, it is important to understand what you should or should not do while the filling is in place, as you wait for the tooth to be permanently repaired. Temporary fillings are, by design, easier to remove and therefore easier to damage or accidentally dislodge, and they must be treated with relative caution. Your dentist will provide you with specific guidelines, but, as a general rule, the following precautions will help protect your filling while you wait for a permanent repair at your dental follow-up visit.

If your dentist has used anesthesia to numb the filled tooth, be extremely cautious as you wait for the numbness to dissipate; you can easily damage the soft tissue in your mouth while anesthesia is wearing off. Once you are able to resume normal eating habits, whenever possible, do not chew anything with the side of the mouth where the temporary filling has been placed. Over time, it can be easy to forget this rule, as temporary fillings are often intended to remain in place over the course of several weeks. If you find yourself forgetting this guideline and chewing with the affected tooth, try to chew as gently as possible. Because of the possibility of forgetting, however, dentists recommend that you avoid certain foods until the temporary filling is replaced with its permanent counterpart. Crunchy or hard foods, like nuts, are not recommended, nor are sticky foods like toffee or chewing gum.

Prepare to proceed gently while brushing and flossing as well. It is important to continue a proper oral hygiene routine, and you should absolutely plan to brush and care for the affected tooth along with all your other teeth. Dentists always recommend using a soft-bristled brush but may suggest an extra-soft bristled toothbrush for the time when the temporary filling is in place. Brush thoroughly, but be sure to be gentle when brushing the filled tooth. Flossing near and around the affected tooth may pose more of a challenge. If the filling extends to the edge of your tooth, use extreme caution when flossing around it. Make sure to pull the floss out from the side, instead of lifting it upward, as lifting it may cause it to snag on, and loosen or dislodge, the temporary filling. With the proper precautions, your temporary dental filling should be durable enough to continue to protect your tooth until the permanent filling can be placed.

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