Dental fillings help improve the shape, function and beauty of damaged or crushed teeth. When you have your teeth filled, you have to take care of them both in the short and long term. With proper dental care, you can minimize the risk of cavities and also prevent the decay of fillings.
Part 1 of 2: Caring for New Fillings
Step 1. Know how long it will take for your filling to harden
There are several types of dental fillings and each requires a different time to harden. By knowing how long it will take for your filling to harden, you'll know how long to be careful with your filling so it doesn't cause damage.
- Gold, amalgam, and mixed fillings take about 24-48 hours to harden.
- Ceramic fillings can be instantly hardened with the help of a special blue light for irradiating teeth.
- Glass ionomer material (a filling that is almost the color of your teeth) can start to harden within three hours, but it can take up to 48 hours to really harden.
Step 2. Use pain medication if needed
You can take a pain reliever before the anesthetic wears off, and continue this medication until the pain has completely subsided. This will help you reduce any pain or swelling that occurs.
- Ask your dentist if you need postoperative pain relief. Follow the directions for use on the medicine package or the directions from your dentist when you take pain relievers after having a filling procedure.
- The sensitivity of the tooth area will usually improve within a week.
Step 3. Avoid consuming food and drink until the effects of the anesthetic have worn off
Your mouth will feel numb for several hours due to the anesthetic effect of the filling. It's better not to eat or drink until the effects of the anesthetic wear off, so you don't harm yourself.
- If you eat or drink, the numbness makes it difficult for you to measure the temperature of the food or drink, or even subconsciously bite the inside of your cheek, tongue or the tip of your tongue.
- If you're craving something to eat or drink, try to choose soft foods like yogurt or applesauce, and simple drinks like water. Chew using the part of your mouth that hasn't been filled with new fillings, so you don't have to put yourself in danger or damage the filling.
Step 4. Avoid foods and drinks that are too hot and too cold
Your teeth and fillings will feel sensitive for a few days after the filling. Avoid foods and drinks that are too hot or too cold to control sensitivity and pain levels, and prevent damage to your patch.
- Foods and drinks that are too hot or too cold can interfere with the fillings bonding to your teeth. Composite fillings are usually attached to the teeth. The unification process continues for at least 24 hours, so it is recommended that you consume warm food/drinks while this process takes place.
- Hot and cold temperatures can cause the patch to expand and shrink, especially if the patch is made of metal. This changes the adaptability, shape, and strength of the patch and can cause cracking or leakage.
- Make sure that you lower the temperature of hot foods, such as soups, or freshly baked foods, such as lasagna, as well as hot drinks such as coffee and tea, before you consume them.
Step 5. Avoid foods that are hard, chewy, or sticky
Try to avoid foods that are hard, chewy, or sticky for a few days after filling. Foods like candy, granola bars, and raw vegetables can cause serious problems, and can even cause fillings to come out of your teeth.
- Biting on hard food can crack fillings and teeth themselves. Sticky food can stick to the surface of the filled tooth for a long time and make the tooth more prone to cavities.
- Food stuck between teeth can weaken fillings and pose a more serious risk of cavities. To avoid this risk, clean your mouth after eating and use mouthwash after brushing or flossing.
Step 6. Chew with the part of your mouth that is not freshly filled with fillings
When you eat, make sure that you chew with the side of your mouth opposite the filling, for the first day or two. This will ensure that your filling is firmly attached to the tooth and that there is no damage to it.
Step 7. Check the top filling point of the protruding tooth
Since the filling process means the dentist “fills” your cavities with a material, it is possible that he or she has added too much filling material into the cavities. Check the point of the protruding upper filling to avoid cracks in your filling or any pain that may occur after the filling process.
The patch's top spot can make it difficult for you to close your mouth properly or bite properly. This top filling point can also cause problems such as pain, inability to chew food in the filling area, cracked fillings, ear pain, and noise in the temporomandibular joint
Step 8. Call your dentist if you have any problems
If you notice any problems with your teeth, mouth, or fillings, contact your dentist. This will ensure that you get help to avoid further tooth decay.
- Watch for the following symptoms and call your dentist if you experience them:
- Sensitive feeling in the teeth that have been filled.
- Cracks in the patch.
- There are parts of the patch missing or eroding.
- Discoloration of teeth or fillings.
- If you find that the patch is wobbly and there is seepage on the grille when you drink.
Part 2 of 2: Performing Daily Care on Old Dental Fillings
Step 1. Brush and floss your teeth every day, especially after eating
Brushing and flossing daily and after eating can keep your teeth, fillings and gums healthy. A clean mouth can help you avoid cavities and unsightly stains.
- Make sure that you brush and floss as much as possible after eating. If there is food residue stuck to your teeth, it can cause cavities and can damage existing fillings. If you don't have a toothbrush with you, replace it with chewing gum.
- Coffee, tea and wine can stain your fillings and teeth. If you consume these drinks, brush your teeth afterwards to avoid staining your teeth.
- Tobacco and cigarettes can also stain your fillings and teeth.
Step 2. Control your sugar intake and acidic foods and drinks
Sweet and sour foods and drinks can damage dental fillings, so controlling sugar and acid intake can help keep your teeth healthy. Tooth decay can easily occur on the underside of existing fillings. Gradually, fillings can become damaged and seep, so it is very important to maintain a healthy and clean diet so that you avoid damage to the underside of the filling. Brushing your teeth after consuming the following types of foods can help you avoid cavities:
- If you can't brush your teeth because, for example, you're at school and don't have a toothbrush, clean your mouth by gargling with water. Add drinking water intake. Limit the frequency of snacking, and avoid sticky foods.
- Eat healthy and balanced foods, such as lean foods, fruits and vegetables, and nuts, which can support your overall health condition, including your dental health.
- Some healthy foods are acidic, like oranges. You can still eat oranges, but limit the amount and brush your teeth after you finish eating oranges. Consider mixing water into the orange juice you drink, at a rate of 50/50.
- Examples of sweet and sour foods and drinks are sodas, sugary foods, candy, and wine. In addition, this type also includes sports drinks, energy drinks, and sugary instant coffee.
Step 3. Use a fluoride gel
If you have multiple fillings, ask your dentist for a fluoride gel or toothpaste. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from potential new cavities and can nourish your teeth.
Fluoride gel or toothpaste also helps strengthen your tooth enamel, adding to the health of your fillings
Step 4. Avoid mouthwash and toothpaste that contains alcohol
Mouthwashes and toothpastes that contain alcohol can reduce the durability of the filling or even stain it. Use colored non-alcoholic toothpaste or mouthwash to prevent these problems.
You can buy non-alcoholic toothpaste and mouthwash at most supermarkets, drugstores or online stores
Step 5. Don't grit your teeth
If you have a bad habit of grinding your teeth at night, you can unknowingly damage your fillings and teeth. If you have this bad habit, ask your dentist to provide a dental guard for you to wear.
- Gritting your teeth will erode your fillings and can make your teeth sensitive, damaged, and cracked.
- Biting nails, opening bottle caps or holding objects with your teeth are also bad habits. Try to avoid these habits so you don't damage your teeth or fillings.
Step 6. Have regular dental checkups and cleanings at your dentist's office
Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are necessary to maintain dental health. See your dentist at least twice a year, or more if you have problems with your teeth or fillings.