A dental filling is something that helps restore a tooth that is damaged by a cavity or decay, restoring its function, shape and appearance. Currently, there are a variety of materials used as dental fillings, such as amalgam, gold, porcelain and composite resin — your dentist can help you determine the best dental filling material for you.
But no matter which dental filling material is selected, it’s of utmost importance to take good care of your dental fillings, most especially if they’re new, in order to allow them to do their job and also make them last for a long time.
Here are some of the most important tips for caring for your new dental fillings:
Determine the Time It Will Take For the Dental Filling to Set
Before you step foot outside the dental clinic, see to it that your dentist has informed you about the setting time of your filling, depending on which material is used.
Different dental filling materials take different times to set, and it’s a must that you are aware of the length of time it will take for the material of your new filling to harden in order to avoid damaging it. Ceramic fillings set instantly with the help of a blue light, while gold and composite fillings can take up to 2 days to set.
Skip Consuming Very Hot or Very Cold Foods and Drinks
While still waiting for your new dental filling to set, make sure that you refrain from consuming any food or beverage that is either too hot or too cold.
Extreme temperatures can make a filling either contract or expand. No matter the case, its shape may end up altered. It’s not unlikely for a newly-set dental filling to also crack upon exposure to anything that’s very hot or very cold. To keep your new filling out of harm’s way, stick to food and beverages that are close to room temperatures.
Avoid Eating Anything That is Hard or Sticky
For a few days after getting a new dental filling, consider staying away from foods that are hard or sticky. Make sure that you momentarily go for those that are easy to chew and won’t adhere to your teeth.
Hard foods can actually fracture or crack your filling as you chew on them, which is something that requires a quick trip to the dental clinic. On the other hand, sticky foods can encourage the growth and multiplication of bacteria that can form acid, leaving your new dental filling that is yet to completely harden at risk of being eroded.
Chew on the Side of Your Mouth That’s Opposite to the Filling
Even after giving your new filling the amount of time it needs to set, it’s still recommendable for you to refrain from using the tooth with the filling for at least a couple of days more.
This means that you should use the side of your mouth that is opposite the filling for chewing your food. No, you really do not have to keep on dodging foods to avoid that are mentioned earlier. However, it pays to save the newly-filled tooth from unnecessary stress for a few days after its filling has completely hardened.
CAUTION: If it seems that there is a problem with your new dental filling, make sure that you call your dentist right away to have an appointment set.