Are Temporary Tooth Filling Kits Safe? | Smile Stories

5 Reasons Why Using a Temporary Tooth Filling Kit Is a Bad Idea

Have you recently had a filling fall out or noticed a hole in a tooth? Are you considering buying a temporary tooth-filling kit to do a spot of DIY dentistry? If you think it looks like a quick and easy solution that will save you a visit to the dentist, we’ve got a whole host of reasons why using a temporary tooth filling kit is not a good idea.

First of all, it’s easy to see why you would want to fill in a hole in your tooth because it can be exceptionally annoying. Food can get trapped inside, it may feel sensitive, and your cheeks may rub on the sharp edges. So naturally, you want to find the fastest solution to the problem. But be careful; using a temporary tooth filling kit is not as simple as it may appear.

A filling might seem pretty straightforward, but that doesn’t mean you should be trying to do it yourself. Dentistry is highly skilled; it takes five years at dental school and another one to two years of supervised practice to train to become a dentist. DIY dentistry is incredibly easy to do incorrectly and will likely lead to more damage.

Let us explain why doing your own filling is not a good idea.

1. At-home tooth filling kits don’t remove the decay

You have a hole in your tooth for a reason — either because you have lost a filling or because it has been caused by decay. Either way, just putting in a filling will not solve the problem. As soon as a filling falls out, the hole becomes open to bacteria, and even if you take extra care brushing and flossing, tiny particles of food can still get trapped inside. There may also be fragments of the previous filling left behind.

tooth filling kit for decay

If the hole is due to decay, it is crucial to find out what caused this. You might have other issues, such as receding gums, periodontitis (gum disease), or decay on other teeth that you are unaware of. These issues might not be causing you a problem at the moment, but they will almost always eventually lead to pain, infections, and tooth loss. 

Before placing a filling, any decay needs to be removed, which you most definitely cannot do yourself. If this is not done, the tooth will continue to rot away and will eventually fall out. If you are replacing a filling, there is less likely to be decay. However, it is essential the tooth is professionally cleaned to ensure there is no trapped food debris or particles from the previous filling. 

The other difference is that the material used for a filling at a dentist is not the same as temporary fillings and is sealed to the tooth’s inner surface. This prevents liquids and food from getting into the hole once the filling is placed, protecting the tooth from future decay. If you just push temporary filling material into the hole, this could lead to you needing a root canal treatment or losing the tooth.

2. Your bite can change

If you’ve had a filling done by your dentist, you’ll remember that once it is in place, you bite down on some blue paper. It may be hard to understand if you have never had a filling, but this is done to check how your teeth meet together, known as your occlusion. Slight dips and peaks, the contours of your tooth — which you can feel with your tongue — affect how your teeth sit when you close your mouth. Unless they are mirrored by the filling, your teeth will no longer sit correctly. 

When you use a temporary tooth filling kit, you will not be able to shape the material to replicate your natural tooth surface. Even dentists can find this difficult and it is considered an extremely skilled process. If you have ever had orthodontic treatment to get straight teeth, this is especially important as even a slight change could ruin years of hard work to get straight teeth. 

But that is not the only reason your occlusion is so important. Teeth that do not meet due to a filling not being correctly moulded can feel uncomfortable, lead to jaw pain and headaches, and may even cause other teeth to crack or chip.

3. DIY fillings fall out

Home tooth fillings can’t bond to your teeth in the way composite resin used by dentists does. They’re simply pushed into a cavity using your finger and only retained by locking into undercuts, making them highly susceptible to falling out or breaking. 

When a home tooth filling kit is used on a front tooth, there is even less undercut, which means it is unlikely to stay put.

4. Temporary fillings don’t colour match

tooth filling kit

If you’ve ever bought a filling kit, you’ll immediately notice they’re not produced for aesthetics. The material is generally Zinc Oxide, and dentists never use this for long-term teeth restoration. These temporary tooth filling kit materials are usually bright white and strikingly obvious. 

5. Discomfort and pain when chewing and eating

Chewing can place pressure on a temporary filling, which may irritate the sensitive dentine tissue. When liquid gets under the filling, this is also likely to cause pain and sensitivity to hot and cold. Additionally, a change to your bite may cause discomfort when chewing, and you are also more likely to crack or chip the tooth if you accidentally bite something hard.  

So If You Shouldn’t Use Temporary Tooth Filling Kits, What’s the Solution?

To keep your teeth and gums healthy and avoid losing any old fillings, you should visit a dentist at least every 12 months. If your tooth breaks, you lose a filling, or you notice a hole in a tooth, book an emergency appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. If you are not registered with an NHS dentist or cannot get an appointment, then contact NHS 111 for an emergency dentist in the UK.

Disclaimer: This article (5 Reasons Why Using a Temporary Tooth Filling Kit Is a Bad Idea) is for information purposes only. This information will not diagnose or provide treatment options for your individual problems and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a dental professional if you have any dental issues. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice because of something you have read on this blog.

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Dr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) qualified as a dentist with honours. Now practising in the Bournemouth & Poole area, he provides general dentistry and has a keen interest in aesthetics and orthodontics.