You may receive a temporary filling (usually white, off-white or gray) if:
- Your treatment requires more than one appointment.
- Your dentist wants to wait a short period of time for the tooth to heal.
- You have a deep cavity and the pulp (nerve and blood vessels) becomes exposed during treatment.
- You need emergency dental treatment.
A temporary filling may make your tooth feel better. This is because the filling seals the tooth, protecting the pulp from bacteria and reducing sensitivity.
Temporary fillings often contain eugenol, an ingredient in over-the-counter toothache remedies. Eugenol is also a component of oil of cloves, which people use for toothache pain.
Temporary fillings are not meant to last. Usually, they fall out, fracture or wear out within a month or two. If you get a temporary filling, make sure you visit your dentist to get a permanent one. If you don't, your tooth could become infected or you could have other problems.