Having to have a cavity filled can leave your mouth feeling a little strange. If you want to know how to care for your new filling, take a look at our 6 tips…
1. Be mindful
You will be given an anaesthetic to numb the area of your mouth where the filling is being inserted. You might find that it takes a couple of hours to regain feeling in this part of your mouth so be mindful of your mouth actions – such as grinding/clenching, tongue probing, biting nails – to avoid upsetting the area or biting the inside of your mouth by accident.
It can take time for the filling to set depending on what material was used, so confirm with your dentist whether it was an amalgam (metal) or composite (white) filling. Amalgam fillings usually take around 24 hours, while composite fillings are set in the practice. Still, it’s advised you take the same care of your filling either way. Note that after your filling has fully healed, each will feel slightly different too. Amalgam fillings are softer to the bite whereas composite might feel firmer.
2. Watch what you eat
Try to eat on the other side of your mouth, at least for the first day while it settles. From the next day gradually introduce softer foods onto the side with your filling without biting down directly onto the filled surface. You might find that it feels tender if you do.
It goes without saying that a tough baguette or a steak aren’t the best choices after a filling! Soup, egg and noodle dishes will go down better. And avoid eating or drinking anything except water for the first few hours after the procedure. You can find more chewing tips here.
3. Avoid very hot and cold foods
These can cause sensitivity around your filling that results in a sharp pain. Ouch! Just like the tenderness, this will gradually fade with time.
4. Be careful when brushing
Ideally, you should already be using a soft-bristled toothbrush but if not then invest in one today. You can brush your teeth normally but you might want to take a bit more care around your new filling in case it is still tender or your filling was particularly deep meaning it lies close to the gumline. The same goes for flossing – it is fine to do after a filling but try not to irritate the particular area within the first 24 hours while it heals.
5. Think of the long-term
While you don’t need to avoid smoking or drinking caffeine or alcohol following a filling (so long as the anaesthesia has worn off), it’s worth thinking about the long term. Smoking doesn’t just cause cancer, it can discolour your teeth – and that also goes for white fillings. The same is true of drinks like red wine, tea and coffee. Looking after your filling also means looking after the rest of your teeth so you can get maximum use out of them into the future.
6. Call your dentist if it comes loose
While your dentist will do their best to file down rough edges, it’s totally normal for you to notice residue or tiny bits of filling in your mouth for a few hours following the surgery. But if any large parts of filling come loose, be sure to call our Notting Hill dental surgery as soon as possible as your tooth may need refilling.
These tips are specific to permanent fillings – if you’ve had a temporary filling following a root canal or ahead of a crown, make sure you take extra special care.
Meet our Notting Hill dentists
At Number 18 Dental, our world-class dentists are experts at minimally invasive dentistry, which means we never remove more of a tooth than is absolutely necessary.
If you’ve had tooth sensitivity or a toothache and think you need a filling, book an appointment and find out more about the services we offer on our website.