Most of us will or have had fillings in our teeth at some point in our lives.
Fillings are commonly used to remove decayed parts of the tooth or a cavity in order to stop the damage spreading elsewhere.
Years ago, dentists would usually treat tooth decay only with amalgam silver fillings and would ask patients not to eat any food for a little while in order not to risk any potential chipping or fracturing of the filling during the restoration process.
As years have gone on however, the types of fillings used by dentists along with the rules and advice surrounding them have changed considerably, and this includes advice on when and how to eat.
Keep reading to learn how long after a filling you are advised to eat to avoid damaging the restoration process, and if there are some foods that are better than others.
While they are an older type of filling, metal amalgam fillings are still commonly used by dentists and can help strengthen and repair teeth incredibly quickly.
It does however take around 24 hours for an amalgam filling to fully harden and be in a condition where it can be chewed without any fear of damaging the repairs.
Because it therefore takes around a full day to harden, this is how long your dentist will often advise you to not chew for.
You can still eat during this time, but it is heavily advised to only chew on the opposite side of the mouth to the filling for a day and for the next day, lightly bite into some food with the tooth to test that it feels fully hardened and not slippery or as if it could move around when chewed with.
Composite fillings are much newer and have skyrocketed in popularity due to how easy and quick they are to apply, and also for how quickly they harden.
They are usually reserved for larger cavities; however they can still be used on smaller teeth and will repair them just the same as amalgam fillings.
In contrast to amalgam fillings however, composite fillings harden immediately once a dentist puts a blue UV light on your tooth.
This means you can usually start eating and drinking as soon as you leave the dentist, however it is often advised to wait around 2 hours just so that there is no unwanted discomfort when eating and chewing with the tooth.
Food And Drink To Avoid After A Filling
After the required time you will usually be able to eat most foods as you would normally, however you should ideally take a soft diet for the next 2 days if possible.
This is to avoid putting too much pressure on the tooth which can potentially chip the filling or cause discomfort around the gums.
Anything soft that does not require intensive chewing is usually much easier on the tooth and will be sure not to disrupt the restoration process.
Scrambled eggs, yoghurt and soup are just some tasty options that you can enjoy for a day or two while the cavity heals.
Other hard foods like sweets, candy, nuts and ice can also cause unwanted pain from the jaw using too much pressure to chew through them which can end up dislodging a new filling.
The same goes for sticky foods as these can stick to a newly placed filling and move it out from the tooth.
While this is quite rare, it is still quite common in amalgam fillings and so should be taken into account.
In terms of drinks, it is generally advised to avoid any drinks that are not water, such as coffee or sugary drinks, for a few hours preferably until the next day after you have been to the dentist.
The reasoning for this is because both hot and cold drinks can cause unwanted expansion of the tooth or the filling which can lead to it getting dislodged.
Will It Feel Different When Eating With A Filling?
Right after you have a filling you will likely experience a very common slight pain or discomfort around the tooth, however your dentist will most likely administer a local anaesthetic to numb this pain which often wears off in about 2 hours.
It is not advised that you eat during this resting period because you can end up biting your tongue or cheeks.
When you start eating normally again, the biggest change you will feel is a heightened sensitivity around the tooth that is being restored, this can usually last from a few days to a week and while it will not majorly prevent you from eating most foods, it can cause quite some discomfort if you are eating something incredibly cold such as ice cream, so it is often advised to avoid these types of foods until the sensitivity starts wearing away.
It is also advised for a few days after the filling to bite and chew carefully.
Our jaws are used to biting down with a lot of pressure in order to chew through any foods, so it is a good idea to just consciously make sure you don’t put too much pressure on your jaw so as to not irritate the filling or cause any unnecessary pain.
Depending on what kind of filling you get, you will be advised to avoid eating for a short while, however this is not a long period usually lasting no more than a full day.
Of course don’t let this stop you eating entirely, when you need to eat simply do so by chewing on the opposite side to the mouth to the filing and when you eat a day or two after the filing, try and opt for some softer foods that do not require much chewing rather than solid or sticky foods which require more pressure from the jaw and teeth to consume.