Dr Mark HassedI'm bemused that some dentists like to place temporary fillings.

I'm not talking about temporary fillings between visits with a root filling. What I mean are temporary fillings placed to get rid of pain or give the “nerve a chance to settle”.

In these dentists' minds, a temporary filling promotes pulpal recovery and then they place a ‘permanent' filling later.

I'll give you my reasons why I think that is a bad idea:

  1. Instead of completing the procedure the patient has to come back a second time. It multiplies inconvenience and adds cost.
  2. Most temporary fillings I see are rough and poorly sealed. If the patient doesn't return they have a filling that will degrade rapidly leading to even worse problems.
  3. At the second appointment you traumatise the pulp all over again. If it didn't die the first time it might well after the second round of trauma.

Also, if the pulp doesn't recover, think of the root filling. Would you rather do it through a well placed ‘permanent' filling or a temporary filling?

When I question dentists why they use temporary fillings it mostly gets down to time. They can't manage their time so they use temporaries as a way of getting the patient in and out of the surgery quickly.

If you use temporaries regularly (other than for endo.) honestly ask yourself why.


Enjoy your break over the holidays and see you again next year. I hope you had a great 2016 and 2017 is even better.

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