Temporary Dental Fillings

Temporary fillings usually last for a short while—not longer than a month in most cases. They are used if you need other, longer lasting dental fillings that will require more than one appointment to complete. For example, if you are getting a gold filling, which requires two dental appointments, your dentist will place a temporary filling in your tooth until you return for your second appointment. Another instance in which a temporary filling may be used is if you have a toothache. A temporary filling can ease the pain you feel from a toothache, because the filling will seal your tooth, protecting the pulp from bacteria and infections and thereby reducing pain and tooth sensitivity. Temporary fillings are also common if your dentist would prefer to wait a short time to allow your tooth to heal before moving forward with another procedure (e.g., a root canal) or if your pulp is exposed while your dentist is operating on your tooth.

Care and Maintenance

There are a few steps you can take to ensure that your temporary filling will stay in place until you return to your dentist's office for your next visit. Continue to brush your teeth at least twice a day and to floss at least once a day. Take care to pull the floss forward from between your teeth, instead of lifting it up and out of your teeth, which can cause your temporary filling to become loose. Try to chew on only one side of your mouth (opposite the tooth filling) and do not chew gum or eat hard, sticky foods. 


Temporary fillings are helpful if you have a toothache and want to alleviate the pain you are experiencing. They usually contain eugenol, an antiseptic and analgesic ingredient in popular over-the-counter remedies, including oil of cloves.


Temporary fillings are intended to be just that: temporary. They will likely wear out within a month and can fracture or fall out completely. If you have temporary fillings, you must visit your dentist to have him or her place permanent fillings in your teeth. If you do not replace temporary fillings, you risk infection and tooth loss.

If you believe you need a temporary filling, do not waste time: consult with a dentist as soon as possible

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions