When having fillings on your teeth, it is important to follow your dentist’s short-term and long-term instructions in order to keep your fillings and your mouth healthy for a long time.
Here are a few reminders of how you can take care of your fillings and your teeth.
Eating and drinking
If you just had your dental fillings done, you may need to wait a little before eating and drinking. Silver or grey fillings do not get hard instantly. It takes them 24 hours to become totally hard. Therefore dentists recommend not eating anything for the first hour after you appointment for the filling, and 24 hours before eating something hard.
Composite, or white fillings, become hard instantly during your dental apointment, when your dentist cures them with the blue light. You don’t need to wait before eating something on white fillings.
For the following days and years, unless instructed otherwise, you may eat normaly on teeth with fillings, just like you would eat on your other teeth.
Brushing and flossing
It goes without saying that you must maintain good oral hygiene because the teeth that have fillings are still at risk of getting further tooth decay if not cleaned properly.
Fillings themselves do not get cavities. Decay would start on the remaining tooth, or on the junction between the tooth and the filling. Brushing and flossing is therefore very important to keep the tooth healthy for a long time.
Depending of how big or how destroyed the tooth was, a dental crown might be a better treatment option than a filling. In cases of extensive decay, the fillings done would have stopped the cavity and sealed your tooth. But that tooth remains fragile to chewing forces, and to protect it, it would be better to procede with a dental crown.
Beware for tooth grinding
Fillings are a good treatment option for small and medium size cavities. A tooth with a filling stays a little bit more fragile than a tooth with no filling at all. Hense, if you grind your teeth (bruxism), your teeth that have fillings might fracture more easily. Sometimes the remaining tooth fractures and the filling stays in place! It would be then important to take care of the teeth grinding problem to keep your teeth and jaw healthy.
Routine checkups at your dentist are important to make sure your fillings are fitting correctly and that your teeth are healthy. Seeing your dentist every 6 months is what is recommended by most dental associations.