A temporary dental filling is a non-permanent solution to a variety of oral concerns and, because it’s not designed to last forever, it’s natural for it to fall out over time. A temporary tooth filling should last around 6-8 weeks, so what should you do if yours falls out prematurely?
The first thing to remember is not to panic. This scenario is rarely a dental emergency, and there are some steps you can take while you wait to see your dentist. In this guide, we’ll examine the reasons you might have a temporary filling, and what to do if yours gets lost.
Why would you need a temporary filling?
Temporary fillings may be inserted by your dentist before a permanent filling or dental crown is applied. Some common circumstances that might call for a temporary dental filling include:
- Toothache, where a healing material may reduce sensitivity
- Extensive decay where a permanent treatment can only be determined following careful observation over time
- Tooth decay caused by a bacterial infection
- When there’s not enough time in the appointment to apply a permanent filling
- When root canal is required, and your dentist needs to keep the site clean and protected in the run-up to the root canal therapy
- The patient wants more time to decide which permanent treatment they want
- The patient feels anxious about a permanent filling
What should you do if your temporary filling comes out?
A temporary filling could fall out for a range of reasons, including from chewing or biting too hard, grinding (bruxism) and decay. Whatever the reason, if you have a temporary filling that comes out, the first step is to call your dentist and let them know what happened and whether you’re experiencing pain. In the meantime, you should do what you can to protect the exposed tooth.
- Keep the filling safe, as your dentist may be able to use it again
- Gargle regularly with salt water to keep the area clean of bacteria
- Maintain a high standard of oral hygiene, being sure to brush gently around the area where the filling was
- Avoid chewing with the affected area
What to do if you’re in pain
Usually, a lost temporary filling won’t cause pain but if you are experiencing pain or sensitivity, there are some ways to manage it.
- Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as Ibuprofen or Panadol, to minimise pain or swelling
- Use a cold compress for 15 minutes at a time
- Apply a topical numbing agent
- Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, or apply clove oil to the affected tooth
Call King Street Dental for an appointment
If your temporary dental filling has fallen out, contact King Street Dental immediately. Let us know how it happened and whether you’re in pain, and we’ll arrange an appointment as soon as possible. In some scenarios, we may be able to provide an emergency appointment. You can reach our Templestowe dental practice on (03) 9841 8033 or [email protected].