How Long Does A Temporary Filling Last?

People often ask, “How long do dental fillings last?”

Usually, a permanent dental filling can last anywhere from 7 to 20 years. However, it depends on what filler material you choose, the location and size of the filling, and your oral hygiene. Other factors include:

  • Material used
  • Trauma to the tooth
  • Decay around the filling
  • The patient’s eating habits
  • Teeth grinding habit

What Is A Temporary Tooth Filling?

A temporary tooth filling is just a brief treatment to fix a damaged tooth. These dental fillings don’t last much longer and act as a temporary solution. You will need to schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist. So that your dentist replaces the temporary filling for a tooth with a permanent tooth filler.

How Does A Temporary Tooth Filling work?

Dentists often use a filling in the teeth to remove tooth decay or repair a cavity. It is necessary at times, depending on your oral condition. After assessing your oral situation, the dentist may choose temporary teeth filling followed by a permanent one.

In some cases, like right after the root canal or crown removal, having a temporary dental filling is a good idea. Filler for missing tooth needs reformation after a few months. The material is weak and looks uglier. It also needs daily cleaning. However, it is more accessible to positions and more affordable. Consider it as a requirement for getting a permanent solution for your damaged or missing tooth.

Knowing how to make a temporary tooth last longer is vital. It usually lasts longer if patients follow a good oral hygiene routine. Without proper care, they won’t last even a few days.

While permanent tooth fillings are the last longing, how long do the temporary fillings last?

Well, it depends on how well you maintain and care for them. This guide will address your concerns about “how long does a temporary tooth filling last?” and “how long do fillings take?” Let’s take a look at the best temporary filling for a tooth in detail.

How Long Does It Take To Fill A Cavity?

If you’re thinking about, “How long does a cavity filling take?” Here’s the good news. A temporary cavity filling is relatively quick and easy to fix for dentists.

This procedure usually takes anywhere from 10 minutes to one hour. However, the cavity filling time varies based on the location and size of the cavity. Cavity filling is a common dental procedure. It repairs chipped or decayed teeth when damage is mild to moderate.

Moreover, your dentist will likely use local anesthetics to numb the area that needs fixing. So that you don’t feel any pain during your temporary cavity filling treatment. After numbing the area, your dentist will use a dental drill or laser to remove decay from the tooth.

Next, your dentist will prepare the newly created space to apply the temporary cavity filler. Your dentist will then profile the area. He or she may even use an acid-containing gel.

After that, your dentist will apply the dental filling material. Some types of filling materials require a special light to boost their hardening process. Lastly, your dentist will polish the cavity filling. This will remove any sharp edges that could injure your tongue or inner cheeks.

So how long does it take to get a cavity filled? As said earlier, the procedure is quite simple and takes about an hour or less to complete. However, several cavity fillings require multiple visits to treat them.

Types Of Filling Materials

So what is a temporary filling made of?

Today several dental filling material composites are available. Teeth can be filled with porcelain, gold, silver amalgam, glass ionomer, or composite resin fillings.


Porcelain fillings are shaded to match your natural tooth. The dentist uses digital technology (CAD-CAM). With this, he or she will create perfectly fitted and customized porcelain filling material. This delicate process can be completed in only one or two visits. This type of filling material is hard-wearing and lasts long. However, it can be quite expensive as compared to other dental filling materials on the list.


The gold filling material can be used in most areas of your mouth. An inlay is placed within the tooth’s biting surface due to its smaller size. In contrast, an onlay can cover a larger area of your tooth. The dentist takes impressions of the prepared cavity. Then, he or she will prepare the gold filling in his/her laboratory. Gold filling is the most long-lasting and hard-wearing filling material. The reason is that it doesn’t stain and delivers excellent strength. But then again, this type of material is more expensive.

Silver Amalgam 

Amalgam fillings are usually silver in color. These fillings are also hard-to-wear. They typically last from 15 to 20 years. So, if you’re careful with money, this type of filling material can be the best temporary tooth filling for you. Mainly because of its budget-friendly and long-lasting benefits.

Glass ionomer

Glass ionomer fillings are tooth-colored, used to form a chemical bond with your teeth. This filling material releases fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay. But, this temporary filling material is relatively weak. Therefore, these fillings are only used on baby teeth and on your teeth’ non-biting surfaces.

Composite resin 

Composite resin fillings are also tooth-colored cavity fillings made from ceramic resin. This type of filling material is hard-wearing. But these may not be as sturdy as silver amalgam fillings. After preparing the filling material, your dentist will bond it onto the desired tooth. After that, he or she will apply a special light to bond it in your cavity area. On the other hand, this temporary filling material for teeth can become discolored like your other teeth with time.

How Long Does A Temporary Filling Hurt?

How long should a filling hurt?

While it is common if your tooth hurts after filling, the pain will go away within 4 weeks. Any discomfort that occurs outside of that period should be evaluated by your dentist.

That said, rest assured as your dentist will likely numb your tooth before using a dental drill or laser. This will prevent temporary filling pain. Thus, the procedure itself doesn’t cause any pain.

Moreover, temporary tooth fillings are generally easy to remove. But, if you don’t return to get your permanent filling, then your temporary filling material will eventually break down on its own. This will make the tooth more prone to infection if not treated as per plan.

It’s normal to experience mild pain after a temporary filling. As mentioned earlier, pain and sensitivity will likely resolve within four weeks. But in some cases, tooth pain after temporary filling can be because of other dental conditions requiring urgent care.

So if your tooth still hurts weeks after filling or you’re having symptoms, such as fever, redness, or swelling, call your emergency dentist right away.

How Long Should I Wait To Eat After A Filling?

If you’re concerned about, “Can I eat after a filling?” Yes, you can eat after a filling. But the type of filling material used often determines when you can eat. You will have to wait longer with an amalgam filling than with a composite filling. However, we understand how difficult it can be to wait for eating after filling.

Multiple dental filling materials take different times to harden. For instance, metal amalgam teeth fillings do not set immediately. How long to wait before eating solid foods? Dentists often recommend waiting at least 24 hours following the dental filling. To avoid accidentally biting your tongue, cheeks, or lips, you will likely want to wait until the local anesthesia wears off.

So, can you eat after a dental filling? Yes, but the time required to wait depends on what is your filling material made of and what you plan to eat. As we know, several filling materials require different times to harden. It is still essential to be selective about eating after filling to avoid unnecessary pain or damage.

So, how long should you wait before eating? It also depends on what you plan to eat. You can eat room temperature, soft foods after an hour past the tooth filling procedure. However, too hot or cold foods should be avoided. Furthermore, you should avoid eating hard foods that require chewing. Make sure you talk to your dentist to determine the best time to eat after a filling.

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