Decay,  Dentist,  Procedures,  Q&A

Can You Eat After A Filling? How long until I can eat after filling?

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Dental fillings are a common procedure used to treat cavities or tooth decay. One of the questions that frequently arise after getting a filling is regarding eating habits. In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive overview of what you should know about eating after getting a dental filling. List of questions that are covered in this Q&A include:

Can You Eat After A Filling?
How long until I can eat after filling?
How long after filling can you eat?
Can I eat after a tooth filling?
How long to wait to eat after composite filling?

Understanding Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are materials used to fill the cavities in teeth, thus restoring the tooth’s integrity and function.
There are several types of dental fillings, including:

  • Amalgam Fillings: Made from a mixture of metals such as silver, copper, and tin. They are durable but visible due to their silver color.
  • Composite Fillings: Made from resin, these fillings are tooth-colored and are used for a natural appearance.
  • Glass Ionomer Fillings: Typically used for children, these fillings are made from acrylic and glass materials.
  • Gold Fillings: These are made from gold and are known for durability, but they can be more expensive.
  • Ceramic Fillings: Made from porcelain, these fillings are also tooth-colored and are known for resistance to staining.

In most cases what you will be getting is a composite filling (these are also called plastic fillings or white fillings). The mechanism of their placement is based mostly on adhesion to the enamel. Another important factor is that most of the fillings are placed with the use of local anesthesia, which also plays a role in the time needed before consuming foods after the procedure.

Eating After a Filling: General Guidelines

Immediate Aftercare

  • Wait Until Numbness Wears Off: After getting a filling, your mouth will likely be numb from the anesthetics. It’s important to wait until this numbness wears off before eating to avoid accidentally biting your cheek or tongue.
  • Choose Soft Foods: Opt for soft foods that don’t require much chewing, like applesauce, yogurt, or soup.
  • Avoid Hot and Cold Foods: Your teeth might be more sensitive to temperature after a filling. Stick to foods that are room temperature to avoid discomfort.
  • Chew on the Opposite Side: To avoid putting pressure on the new filling, try chewing on the side of the mouth opposite to where the filling was placed.
  • Avoid Sticky Foods: In the first 24 hours after the filling you should avoid eating anything that may attach to the filling an pull it against the tooth. After the 24 hours setting time feel free to eat whatever you want.

Long-term Care

  • Be Cautious with Hard Foods: If you have amalgam or composite fillings, they can take up to 24 hours to set completely. During this time, avoid eating hard or crunchy foods that could damage the filling.
  • Monitor for Sensitivity: Some people experience sensitivity in the filled tooth, especially to hot, cold, or sweet foods. This should diminish in the weeks following the procedure, but if it doesn’t, consult your dentist.
  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: It’s crucial to maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, and attending regular dental check-ups.

Specific Advice Based on Filling Type

  • Amalgam Fillings: They take longer to set, so it’s recommended to avoid eating especially hard or chewy foods for 24 hours.
  • Composite Fillings: They set immediately under the dentist’s blue light, so you can eat normally as soon as the numbness wears off. However, be cautious with very hard or sticky/chewy foods.
  • Glass Ionomer and Ceramic Fillings: Be especially gentle with these as they can be more brittle. Avoid hard foods for at least 24 hours.

Bottom Line

You can eat after getting a dental filling, but it’s essential to be cautious, especially immediately after the procedure. Waiting for the numbness to wear off, choosing soft and room-temperature foods, and avoiding putting pressure on the new filling are key considerations. Also, depending on the type of filling you have, you might need to take extra precautions. Always follow your dentist’s specific instructions and maintain good oral hygiene to ensure the longevity of your dental fillings.

This article is complete and was published on August 20, 2023, and last updated on August 20, 2023.

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