Are you due for a filling? If so, going to the dentist can be nerve-wracking, but not knowing what to expect is the worst part. To avoid any additional stress, mentally prepare by understanding how to care for your teeth after a filling.
What happens during a filling?
You’ll likely receive a local anesthetic to reduce pain during the procedure. Next, your dentist will work on your teeth and will either use an amalgam or composite filling material (What your dentist uses impacts how long until you can eat after your procedure). For example, amalgam fillings require you to wait 24 hours before the material has adequately strengthened. Also, you should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where you had your filling.
Then, your dentist will utilize UV light on your tooth to harden the material for composite fillings. You can typically eat as soon as you leave your dentist’s office. However, most recommend waiting an additional two hours for the filling to sit and for anesthesia to wear off.
Follow these tips to care for your teeth and keep your mouth healthy, and your filling will feel fine in no time.
1. Take pain meds
If you find your mouth is still sore, you can take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen to help relieve the pain. Advil is an anti-inflammatory drug that can help reduce swelling around your teeth.
2. Rinse your mouth
Another solution to help relieve any soreness you’re experiencing is to rinse your mouth with one-quarter teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of water. Gargling with salt water can relieve gum discomfort and cleanse the area of inflammation.
3. Chew carefully and slowly
You’ll want to take extra care to chew slowly when eating. It might be wise to switch to softer foods for a day to avoid the risk of biting something sharp and irritating your filling. Take more time to eat your food, and ensure you chew on the side opposite where you got your filling.
4. Avoid hard and sticky foods
Additionally, you’ll want to stay away from solid or sticky foods like nuts, popcorn or candy soon after getting your fillings. This is especially important if you got an amalgam filling, as the material takes longer to solidify. Give these fillings at least 24 hours to set, and still eat all hard and sticky foods on the opposite side of your mouth.
5. Stay away from sugary and hot or cold beverages
Sugary beverages can make your fillings overly sensitive. They can also promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth around your healing cavity. You’ll also want to avoid excessively hot or cold beverages, as these can also trigger filling sensitivities.
6. Postpone whitening procedures
You might have an upcoming family wedding and want to use your tooth whitening strips. However, wait a few days before applying strips after your filling. While tooth whitening is generally safe, it can also introduce sensitivities, eroding 90% of the collagen in the dentin layer of your teeth.
7. Call your dentist
Contact your dentist if you notice a different bite after a couple of days like your teeth don’t come together as they used to. They’ll want to examine your filling, so your teeth align as they once did. Also, call if you notice a crack in your filling, part of the material appears missing, or you suddenly develop tooth sensitivity. You’ll want to discuss this issue and get it resolved immediately.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to a healthy mouth after your filling. The road to recovery won’t be as tough when you’re prepared, so start right now.
Featured image via Michael Dam on Unsplash