How To Take Care Of New Dental Fillings

Posted on: 17 August 2015

Dental fillings restore most of your original tooth's functionality regardless of what type you get or where it's located. Fillings can last a number of years, with some designed to last a decade or more, but proper care can help make sure they last a long time and don't allow any further damage to your tooth. A tooth with a filling will never be as strong as the original intact tooth, so taking good care of your fillings is very important.

Immediate Aftercare

If you get a white (composite) filling, it will set immediately and you will be able to chew with it normally as soon as you're out of the dentist's chair. However, because the anesthesia may prevent you from feeling whether your bite is uneven or not, wait to eat until after the anesthesia has worn off. If there is any unevenness, let your dentist know as soon as you can.

If you've received an amalgam (metal) filling, you should wait about 24 hours before using that tooth to chew.

In both cases you may experience bleeding in your gums, which is normal, but it can be painful. It will fade within a few days. Your teeth may also be sensitive to heat and cold, and this may last up to a few weeks.

Be Careful Of Hard Foods

While you can use your filled tooth mostly the way you did before, it is slightly more prone to fractures than before; a filling doesn't restore your tooth's original strength. Be careful of hard and very sticky foods like hard fruits, toffees, lollipops and candy drops.

If you don't feel like changing your diet too much, you can always make the foods you eat a little safer by cutting them into smaller pieces before eating, or by switching to chew with the other side of your mouth.

Use a Mouth Guard

If you have problems with teeth grinding or clenching, use a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from grinding together. Not only is grinding bad for your teeth, but the constant pressure makes your filled teeth more likely to fracture or for the filling to break. Ask your dentist about getting a mouth guard, as he will likely be able to have one fitted specifically for you.

Practice Good Hygiene

If you tend to be lax with dental hygiene, now is the best time to change that habit. Brushing and flossing twice a day can help your filling last much longer and prevent more cavities from forming.

You can also use specific products designed with fluoride, such as fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash and gel. Fluoride can remineralize enamel and fend off harmful bacteria. Chewing gum with xylitol has a similar effect.