How to look after your fillings

Everyone has experienced the annoying pain of accidentally biting their inner lip, cheek or tongue.

Any medical procedure requires proper aftercare to make sure the area heals correctly, and fillings are no exception. Taking measures to treat your teeth and gums appropriately minimises your discomfort and reduces your chances of a return trip to the dentist.

If you've had fillings recently or are scheduled for them at your next appointment, review these aftercare tips so you don't have any further issues:

Avoid chewing until after the anaesthesia wears off

Everyone has experienced the annoying pain of accidentally biting their inner lip, cheek or tongue. Anaesthesia dulls this pain, which sounds like a good thing. In actuality, you could accidentally do a lot of damage to the inside of your mouth without the sensation telling you to stop. Try not to chew after your procedure until the anaesthesia wears off, which should occur in an hour or two.

Avoid excessively hot or cold foods

Your teeth may be sensitive for a few days to a few weeks after getting your filling. This is completely normal, and all you need to do is avoid food that causes this sort of sensitivity.

Don't be alarmed if the sensitivity takes longer to disappear than you expect. You should be fine as long as it isn't getting worse.

Stay away from hard foods

This tip mainly applies to people with metal fillings. Wait until 24 hours after the procedure before using those teeth to chew hard foods. If you must bite something, use the other side of your mouth. People with fillings made of other materials only need to wait until the anaesthesia wears off.

Use an acid-reducing, alcohol-free mouthwash

Proper care for your fillings includes minimising your risk of cavities. To do so, use an acid-reducing, alcohol-free mouthwash. Low acidity in the mouth reduces cavity-causing bacteria.

Wear a night guard

A cracked tooth is the last thing you want after a filling, and you can prevent one with a night guard. This handy device is just a small mould of soft material that you put over your teeth as you sleep. The cushioning stops you from clenching your jaws tight, reducing pressure and preventing cracks.

You can buy night guards at a pharmacy, but it's best to have your dentist give you a custom fit.

Maintain a good dental care routine

Other than the above tips, all you need to do to look after your fillings is to continue practising standard dental hygiene.

Brush your teeth no less than twice daily – preferably morning and night – with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss to remove debris and cavity-causing bacteria between your teeth.

Avoid foods that cause dental issues such as:

  • Ice
  • Acidic drinks (especially juice or soda)
  • Sticky or sugary snacks
  • Staining foods like coffee and tea
  • Tobacco

If you're concerned about pain

It's normal to feel pain after a filling, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it. If the pain is exceptionally intense or lasts for a worrying amount of time, the cause may be related to something below:

  • The filling may be too high: This is the most common reason for post-procedural pain. If the filling is higher than the tooth surrounding it, you risk cracking the material when you bite. Schedule an appointment with your dentist if the filling feels high. 
  • Galvanic shock: This sensation isn't as common now that silver fillings have fallen out of fashion. Galvanic shock occurs when two metals touch and produce an electric current. If you have an older filling right above or below your new one, for example, you could feel a small shock when your teeth touch. Luckily, galvanic shock should disappear on its own. If it's really irritating, consider having your dentist replace the filling.
  • Sharp edges: You likely won't feel a sharp-edged filling until the anaesthesia wears off, but they can do some unfortunate damage to your gums and tongue. Have a dentist sand the filling down to prevent oral injuries.

Quality dental service

City Dentists is available for all of your oral care needs. We offer a variety of dental filling options, including composite and resin fillings to mimic the tooth's original colour, dental amalgams which combine two or more metals, and porcelain or gold inlays/onlays.

New and existing patients can make an appointment online or call 04-978-4964 to schedule.