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Aftercare Tips: Precautions After Dental Filling

Dental Designs Clinic Singapore
16 May, 2024

Dental fillings are used to repair teeth that have been damaged by decayed teeth, chipped or broken teeth, and worn teeth or trauma. While fillings are durable, they require proper care to ensure their longevity and effectiveness. Here are some tips for caring for your dental fillings.

 

Avoid chewing on hard foods

At Dental Designs, we use tooth-coloured composite fillings instead of metal fillings. Composite resin fillings are those that harden immediately under the blue light that dentists use, so it is perfectly fine to start eating right away!

Immediately after the dental filling procedure, avoid eating or drinking until the local anaesthetic wears off. Hard foods can exert excessive pressure on the filled tooth, potentially causing the filling to crack or become dislodged. Instead, opt for softer foods that are gentler on your teeth until any sensitivity or discomfort has resolved.

 

Be cautious with sticky foods 

After getting a filling, it's important to be cautious with sticky foods. Sticky foods like caramel, taffy, and chewing gum can adhere to the filling and potentially pull it out or damage it.

When consuming sticky foods, try to avoid direct contact with the filled tooth. Instead, chew on the opposite side of your mouth to reduce the risk of dislodging the filling. When you resume eating, chew on the opposite side of the filled tooth, especially if you have had an amalgam filling, which takes longer to set completely. Gradually introduce food to the filled side to ensure the filling has been set properly.

Stick to a soft diet for the first 24 hours. Avoid hard, sticky, or crunchy foods that could dislodge or damage the new filling. Foods such as soup, yoghurt, mashed potatoes, and smoothies are good choices.

 

Maintain good oral hygiene

Do not hesitate to brush or floss your teeth after getting it filled. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily is crucial to prevent decay around your fillings. Use a fluoride toothpaste and consider using an antibacterial mouthwash to further protect your teeth and gums.

If you received local anesthesia during the filling procedure, wait until the numbness in your mouth has completely worn off before brushing. This will help you avoid accidentally injuring your lips, cheeks, or tongue.

 

Visit your dentist regularly

Regular dental check-ups are essential to ensure your fillings are in good condition and to detect any issues early. Your dentist can also provide professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup around your fillings.

Continue to brush twice a day and floss daily. Pay extra attention to the filled tooth, but be gentle around the filling area to avoid dislodging the filling material. 

If you have a habit of grinding your teeth (bruxism), discuss it with your dentist. A mouthguard might be recommended to protect your fillings and natural tooth structure from damage.

Lady using dental floss

Understanding Post-Filling Sensations

After receiving a dental filling, it's important to understand that you may experience some sensations as your mouth adjusts to the new filling. Here are some common sensations and tips for managing them:

  1. Sensitivity: It's normal to experience some sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet foods and drinks after getting a filling. This sensitivity should subside within a few days to a week. In the meantime, you can use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to help reduce discomfort.

  2. Slight discomfort: You may experience mild discomfort in the filled tooth or surrounding area. This is usually temporary and should improve as the tooth adjusts to the filling.

  3. Change in bite: You may notice a slight change in your bite after getting a filling. This is usually due to the filling adjusting to your tooth's shape and should resolve independently. If the change persists or is causing discomfort, please be sure to contact your dentist.

  4. Pressure sensitivity: Some people may experience a sensation of pressure when biting down on the filled tooth. This is normal and should improve over time as the tooth adjusts to the filling. If the tooth feels too "high" when you bite down on it, you may need to visit your dentist to get it adjusted and polished.


Specific Precautions for Different Filling Materials


  1. Amalgam Fillings: These fillings are made of a mixture of metals, including silver. Avoid chewing hard foods and ice to prevent cracking. Over time, amalgam fillings can expand and contract with temperature changes, so be mindful of extremely hot or cold foods.

  2. Composite Resin Fillings: These tooth-coloured fillings bond directly to the tooth structure but can stain over time. Avoid excessive consumption of staining substances such as coffee, tea, and red wine.

  3. Glass Ionomer Fillings: These are often used in areas not subject to heavy chewing pressure. Be gentle with these fillings, as they are not as durable as other materials.

  4. Gold and Porcelain Fillings: These are durable and can last many years with proper care. Maintain good oral hygiene and regular dental visits to ensure they remain in good condition.



    Summary

    The rule of thumb is to avoid taking hard, sticky and cold foods all the time. If you’re not sure, just play it safe, or ask the dentist the next time you visit them. Always follow the advice of your dentist – they are the professionals and will always be there to help you.

     
     

    References 

    1. Lu, Q., & Wang, L. (2020). The reduction of vertical food impact using adjacent surface retaining zirconium crowns preparation technique: a 1-year follow-up prospective clinical study. Annals of Translational Medicine, 8(16), 1019–1019. https://doi.org/10.21037/ATM-20-5582
    2. Nagarsekar, A., Gaunkar, R., & Aras, M. (2016). Knowledge, attitude, and practice of dental professionals regarding the effect and management of food impaction associated with fixed partial denture prostheses: A survey. Journal of Indian Prosthodontist Society, 16(4), 372–379. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-4052.191286