A dental filling not only reinforces a tooth's damaged structure, but also seals the sensitive internal sections of the tooth—where the nerve is found. There are a variety of filling materials used in modern dentistry, but there are only two real classifications for a dental filling—temporary or permanent. But why would a dentist treat toothache with a temporary filling?
A cavity that causes extreme toothache needs urgent treatment. The earliest possible intervention is helpful, as this can prevent the tooth's nerve from becoming irreversibly infected. If this happens, the nerve must be removed via root canal treatment. Although filling a cavity doesn't take a great deal of preparation, a dentist may not have ample time to complete the task.
Sealing the Tooth
When toothache reaches the level of a dental emergency, managing your symptoms is the priority. Your existing dentist may be able to fit you in. Alternatively, you might need to consult an emergency or after-hours dentist. Quick treatment to seal the tooth is the first course of action. This seal will isolate the tooth's nerve, meaning the tooth can no longer register pain. Your discomfort will then begin to subside.
Most contemporary dental fillings are made of composite dental resin, mixed to match the color of your teeth. The decay present in the tooth must be removed (usually with a dental drill), and a dentist may order diagnostic testing (such as an x-ray) to comprehensively assess the tooth. These steps all take time, so in instances of emergency toothache when there's insufficient time at the initial appointment, a temporary filling can be applied.
This temporary filling won't seamlessly blend into the rest of the tooth, nor will it be too obvious to look at. It's made of a softer resin than a permanent filling to allow its easy removal. This removal will happen at a follow-up appointment, during which the tooth will have any decay removed before being completed with a permanent tooth-colored filling.
Don't become too confident in your temporary filling. It may totally alleviate your pain, but without treatment, your pain will return. The material is only designed for short-term use too, and if left in place, a temporary filling will weaken and can easily break. In fact, you must be careful what you eat with a temporary filling—avoiding foods that are crunchy, chewy, or generally too hard.
If fitted with a temporary filling, don't be tempted to skip your next appointment when your permanent filling will be applied. A temporary filling is nothing more than a temporary solution for your toothache. Contact a dentistry professional to learn more.