Return to Services

Interim Stabilization Therapy (IST)

What is IST?

Interim Stabilization Therapy (IST) is a temporary restoration procedure and an important therapeutic intervention that is used to free a client from pain and prevent further damage to a tooth until the client can get the tooth addressed by a dentist. IST requires no anaesthetic and uses a fluoride-releasing material know as glass ionomer cement. The fluoride in the glass ionomer cement helps to remineralize the affected lesion. In IST the affected tooth is prepared by removing any soft debris (plaque and/or food particles) from the lesion. A conditioner is then added and a glass ionomer is placed in accordance to the manufacturer’s instructions.



Does a registered dental hygienist need to have a restorative specialty certificate to place a temporary restoration?

No. All registered dental hygienists may perform restorative procedures of a temporary nature as part of their scope of practice, in any setting, provided that they are competent to do so.


The primary reasons that a dental hygienist would consider the insertion of a temporary restoration are to free the client from pain and to reduce the possibility of further damage to the tooth until the client is able to see a dentist.


IST is important for those who do not have regular access to oral health services.



  • Control of caries (decay)
  • Conserves sound tooth structure
  • Does not require anesthesia
  • Non-invasive
  • Cost effective ($56.39)


Temporary restorations may be placed in either primary or permanent teeth as a preventative measure when:

  • Access to a permanent restoration is not immediate or practical
  • There is a reasonable risk of further damage to the tooth structure
  • The pulp (nerve) is not exposed
  • The client is in discomfort or is experiencing difficulty in eating
  • The discomfort is due to recent trauma, fracture or lost dental restoration
  • The client has not received any medical/dental advice that would contraindicate placing a temporary restoration
  • The client consents to the treatment and it is in the client’s best interest to proceed
  • There are no medical contraindications to the restorative material

These fillings are temporary and do require a referral to a dentist for placement of a permanent filling.

Approved by Health Canada & College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario