Fillings are needed to restore the shape, function and aesthetic appearance of decayed or damaged teeth by caries. To make the filling last as long as possible, you need to take care of your oral cavity. With proper oral care, the risk of recurrent cavities, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and other oral diseases is drastically reduced.
Part 1 of 2: How to care for a new filling
Step 1. Ask your dentist how long it takes for the filling to harden
There are many different materials for filling teeth, each of which takes a different time to cure (harden). It is important to time the time after the seal has been installed, because for some time after installation you need to be especially careful and make sure that the seal is not damaged.
- Gold alloy fillings, as well as amalgams and composite fillings, fully cure in about 24-48 hours.
- Ceramic inlays are light-cured materials and special lamps are used to cure them.
- Glass ionomer seals harden 3 hours after installation. But the next 48 hours you also need to be careful, because the filling will harden completely only after 48 hours.
Step 2. If you are very concerned about pain, take a pain reliever
You can buy over-the-counter pain relievers and use them until your treatment ends.
- Ask your dentist if you need to take pain relievers after surgery or treatment. If your dentist advises you to take pain relievers, be sure to read the instructions on the package.
- Usually, the sensitivity and discomfort after treatment disappears within a week.
Step 3. Try not to eat or drink for some time after installing the seal
Part of your face may remain numb for several hours after treatment, so it is best not to eat or drink until the anesthesia wears off.
- If you start eating or drinking before the anesthesia has passed, you may not feel the temperature of the food or accidentally bite yourself on the inside of your cheek.
- If you're really hungry or thirsty, buy some yogurt or puree. Try to move food with your tongue to the part of the mouth where you did not get a filling. This reduces the risk of damage to the seal.
Step 4. Do not eat food that is too cold or too hot
A filled tooth is likely to be very sensitive to temperature changes in the first few days after treatment. Therefore, you should not eat or drink something hot or cold, otherwise the sensitivity can develop into pain.
- In addition, hot and cold foods can interfere with the adhesion process (i.e., the adhesion of tooth tissues to the filling material). When using composite materials, a special etching of the enamel is done, due to which there is a binding of the filling material and the tooth. This process can take 24 hours, so it is best not to drink or eat anything hot or cold during this time.
- The filling material (especially metal) expands and contracts due to exposure to hot and cold food. Due to this deformation, the shape and strength of the material changes, so the filling will not be as effective.
- Try to cool hot foods and drinks (such as soup, lasagna, tea or coffee) before eating.
Step 5. For a while, it is better not to eat sticky and too hard foods
For example, candy, muesli and some raw vegetables can accidentally pull out or deform the filling.
- The process of biting off hard foods can deform the filling and tooth. Sticky products are difficult to remove from the enamel surface, they remain there for a long time, which contributes to the development of caries.
- Food debris trapped between your teeth increases the risk of developing new cavities. Therefore, after each meal, you need to rinse your mouth and use dental floss.
Step 6. Try not to chew on the side of your mouth where the filling was made
After a couple of days, you can chew as usual. This will reduce the risk of deformation of the filling.
Step 7. Immediately after installing the seal, check how comfortable it is for you
The dentist fills the cavity with filling material and may add too much of this material, so make a gentle bite (squeeze your jaw) and check if you are comfortable with the new filling. If after treatment you feel acute pain and discomfort, be sure to contact your dentist and report your pain.
Excess filling material will prevent you from closing your mouth and chewing or biting normally. There may be other troubles, such as pain in the tooth, in the ear, clicks in the temporomandibular joint
Step 8. If you have any problems or questions, be sure to contact your dentist
Do not postpone your visit to the doctor if you notice problems with your teeth or filling. Regular check-ups will help prevent potential problems or treat them early.
- If you notice any of the following symptoms, see your dentist right away:
- Increased sensitivity of the healed tooth
- Cracking of the filling
- Chipping or falling out of the filling
- Discoloration and darkening of a tooth or filling
- If you notice that the filling is loose or leaking when you drink.
Part 2 of 2: Daily Care of Your Filling
Step 1. Brush and floss your teeth every day
Make sure to floss after meals to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Good hygiene will prevent the formation of new cavities.
- Try to floss your teeth after every meal. Dental floss will help get rid of plaque and food stuck that can be causing your oral flora to proliferate and damage your fillings. If you don't have dental floss and a brush with you, chew gum.
- Coffee, tea and wine can leave plaque on teeth. Therefore, after these drinks it is worth brushing your teeth.
- Plaque and tartar are very common from smoking.
Step 2. Keep track of how much you eat sweet and sour foods and drinks
Sweet and sour foods often cause tooth decay, so keep an eye on what foods you eat. Remember that a new cavity can form in an already filled tooth (just under the filling). Sometimes fillings break and deform, to avoid this, you need to monitor oral hygiene. Remember to brush your teeth after eating.
- If you are unable to brush your teeth, at least rinse your mouth out. Drink more water, try to snack less, and avoid sticky foods.
- Your diet should be balanced. The diet should contain meat, proteins, vegetables, legumes.
- Do not skip acidic foods (like citrus fruits), but try to restrict yourself a little and be sure to brush your teeth after eating. Fruit juices are best diluted with water in a 1: 1 ratio.
- In addition to citrus fruits, limit yourself to sweets, soda, wine, candy, energy drinks, and coffee.
Step 3. Use fluoride gel
If you have multiple fillings, ask your dentist if you should use a fluoride gel or fluoride paste. Fluoride protects teeth from new cavities.
Fluoride gel and fluoride based paste strengthens the enamel and help fillings last longer
Step 4. Do not use mouthwashes or toothpastes that contain alcohol
These rinses and pastes will reduce the strength of the filling and may cause discoloration. Therefore, use a toothpaste and mouthwash that does not contain alcohol.
Mouthwash and toothpaste can be found in any drug store, supermarket or even online stores
Step 5. Get rid of the habit of grinding your teeth
If you have a habit of clenching and grinding your teeth, it is best to get rid of it as soon as possible, because you can deform the tooth and the filling.
- Teeth grinding is a direct effect on the enamel; if the enamel is weakened, it can cause great damage to the entire tooth. It can become very sensitive and cracks and chips can appear.
- Get rid of the habit of biting your nails, opening bottles and other objects with your teeth. Such habits are very harmful to teeth and fillings.
Step 6. Get regular dental check-ups
Regular check-ups are an important part of prevention. The examination should be done twice a year (at least), even if you still do not have any problems and complaints.