What do I do if a temporary filling comes out?

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General Dental Care
BDSc (Melb)

What do I do if a temporary filling comes outThere are a number of reasons why your dentist may have placed a temporary filling. It may be to settle a painful tooth, to seal a tooth that is in the process of having root canal treatment or to act as an interim filling until such time as a crown or a CEREC® porcelain restoration can be placed.

Temporary fillings aren’t designed to last, so it’s not unusual for them to fall out. If you do lose a temporary filling prematurely there are a few things to consider.

Firstly, call your dentist for a prompt appointment. The lost filling should be replaced as soon as possible.

Secondly, make sure you keep the area clean with thorough brushing, flossing and rinsing. Food caught in the hole where the filling used to be can result in the accumulation of harmful bacteria, which can lead to further dental problems.

Is it a dental emergency?

A lost temporary filling is rarely a dental emergency but sometimes the tooth can be sensitive.

If you can’t get in to see your dentist straight away, there are a number of things you can try.

1. Apply to the exposed tooth either clove oil or a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth.

2. Use a commercial dental cement from the chemist to coat the tooth. surface. (I have known some patients to use sugar-free gum for this purpose.)

3. If any discomfort isn’t eased by the above precautions, take an over-the-counter pain medication (such as Panadol or ibuprofen) according to the instructions on the packet.

In summary, if you do happen to lose a temporary filling, keep calm, call your dentist and protect the tooth in the meantime.

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