While a dental filling to treat a cavity is a very common dental procedure, after a dental filling many patients may experience some mild to moderate pain and discomfort.
Leaving the dentist’s office you may find your mouth feels numb and sore, so eating and drinking might be more complicated while your mouth gets back to normal.
How a dental filling is installed
Getting dental fillings usually takes less than an hour per tooth. The dentist starts off by injecting a local anesthetic into the area surrounding the affected tooth. The dentist will then remove decayed tooth material from the cavity.
The moldable filling is pushed into the hole and it fills up the entire cavity. The filling hardens when exposed to saliva or air. If a composite resin is used, the dentist will harden it with a UV light. It is normal to experience some tooth sensitivity immediately after getting fillings, but that goes away after a few days.
After care for dental filling procedure
To keep your dental filling safe form any damage in the short-term and long-term these guidelines should be followed.
Wait until the anesthetic wears off
Your dentist usually uses a local anesthesia often delivered by a small injection to start the procedure. The medication might not wear off until hours after the procedure. It takes away the patient’s ability to feel things in their mouth and that can lead to injuries by accidentally bite the inside of your mouth while it’s numb. It’s best to hold off from eating until you recover feeling in your mouth, and you should also avoid hot drinks, as you could unintentionally scald your mouth.
Types of fillings and the time you need to wait before eating with them
Regarding when to eat your wait time is based on different filling type you get and your dentist instructions.
Amalgam (silver) filling. This type of filling takes about 24 hours to completely harden and reach maximum strength. Your dentist will likely recommend waiting for at least 24 hours before chewing on the side of your mouth where the filling is located. Composite (white/tooth-colored) filling. A composite filling hardens immediately once a dentist puts a blue UV light on your tooth. You can usually eat as soon as you leave your dentist’s office. However, your dentist may recommend waiting for at least 2 hours before chewing on the filling if you’re still numb.
Foods to Avoid After Dental Filling
It is best to avoid any hard, chewy, or sticky foods after a dental filling for up to two weeks. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity you may also benefit from avoiding hot or cold drinks and foods. Remember your jaw can exert a great deal of pressure when biting and this could lead to pain, you should have small bits and don’t go all the way through on the side of your filling and chew on the opposite side of the filling. You should take your time eating so that you can avoid biting down too hard on the side of your mouth with fillings. There is no need to wait to brush your teeth after a dental filling. You can continue brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day.
Pain in Teeth beside the New Filling
After a dental filling, some people may experience pain in the teeth beside their tooth that received the filling. This is normal and does not indicate there is anything wrong with your teeth. Most of the time, the tooth with the new filling is just passing along signals to the neighbouring teeth. You should notice this pain decrease within one to two weeks.
Avoid Grinding Your Teeth
If you habitually grind your teeth, a condition called bruxism; you can end up wearing down the surfaces of your teeth, along with chipping or cracking your new fillings. If needed, we can fit you with a mouthguard to protect your teeth.
Sometimes your bite may feel different after a filling, as if your teeth don’t come together like usual.
If you don’t get used to the new bite in a few days and your bite still feels uneven, call your dentist.
Do not suck on teeth
Some people habitually suck on their teeth and that is not good for dental fillings. Over time, it can lead to the fillings becoming loosened or even coming out. The patient will need to get another filling or risk the cavity becoming larger.
Improve your oral hygiene
To keep your fillings and your teeth nothing is more important other than your oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing are all it takes to get the most out of this treatment. Patients are advised to brush at least two times a day. Brushing before going to bed is particularly important since bacteria do more damage while a person sleeps. This is due to the decreased saliva production that occurs during sleep. Saliva serves as a natural cleaner that removes bacteria and the acids they produce from teeth surfaces. Brushing before going to bed significantly reduces the damage done at night.