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What To Do After a Dental Filling

mimicking nature in dentistry

After getting a dental filling, proper aftercare is crucial to ensure the success and longevity of the restoration. Immediate post-filling care involves a few essential steps to minimize discomfort and prevent complications. Additionally, being aware of signs and symptoms of potential issues, understanding general care practices, and recognizing long-term considerations are an important part of caring for your filling.

Immediate Aftercare

Avoid chewing on the treated side of your mouth until any numbness wears off. The area may be sensitive, so avoiding temperature extremes may be necessary for a couple of days. Your dentist may also give you other instructions. You can – and should – continue to brush and floss as normal, but be gentle around the filled area. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid aggressive flossing to prevent dislodging the filling. 

Symptoms of Complications 

Discomfort or sensitivity should be only mild; over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can alleviate this. If you have persistent or increasing pain around the filled tooth, this could be a symptom of further decay, a loose filling, or a placement issue. Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures that persists beyond the initial healing period can also indicate an issue. Contact your dentist promptly to address these concerns.

If you notice changes in your bite or experience discomfort after a filling, let your dentist know right away. It may mean that your filling is too high and will cause uneven pressure on the surrounding teeth. This can lead to discomfort, difficulty chewing, and potential damage to the filling or adjacent teeth, but your dentist can make adjustments to prevent this.

If you notice any cracks, chips, or gaps in the filling material, either immediately after the procedure or in the following years, see your dentist urgently, as this can lead to bacterial infection and further decay.

Swelling or inflammation around a filling may indicate an infection or irritation in the surrounding gum tissue. This requires prompt evaluation by your dentist to prevent the spread of infection.

General Care of Fillings

Maintain good oral hygiene to prevent plaque buildup and decay around the filling. Schedule and attend any recommended follow-up appointments with your dentist to ensure the filling is intact and functioning correctly.

Avoid grinding teeth, as this damages fillings, as well as natural teeth, over time. Consider wearing a nightguard if you grind your teeth while sleeping.

Regularly inspect your fillings for signs of wear or rough edges. Notify your dentist if you notice any changes. Rough or uneven edges on the filling can trap plaque and lead to decay, but your dentist can smooth out the roughness.

Dental fillings typically last several years, but they may need replacement due to wear, decay, or damage. With regular appointments and your ongoing monitoring of your fillings, these issues will be caught as soon as possible, so your filling can be repaired or replaced promptly. 

amalgam filling

Fillings Care For Different Fillings Types

Dental fillings come in various materials, each with different properties and care requirements.

Composite Fillings

These are the most common type of filling used currently. Made from tooth-coloured resin, these fillings blend in with natural teeth. They require careful oral hygiene to prevent staining and decay. Avoiding staining agents like coffee and tobacco can help maintain their appearance.

Porcelain Fillings

These are custom-made restorations often used for larger cavities. They require similar care to natural teeth, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits. They are stain-resistant. However, they may chip under excessive force, so avoiding hard foods and habits like nail-biting is particularly recommended with this filling type.

Teeth Whitening Considerations

White fillings are designed to match your tooth colour, but can discolour over time, especially if exposed to staining substances like coffee, tea, or tobacco. These dental fillings do not respond well to teeth whitening treatments, not whitening the same way that natural teeth surfaces do, so you may wish to be careful about consuming foods and drinks that may stain your filling. If this is a concern, discuss it with your dentist.

Expected Lifespan of Fillings

The longevity of a dental filling varies depending on factors such as its location, material, and oral hygiene practices. However, with good care, a filling should last many years.

At Orchard Park Dental, we will guide you on the proper care for your filling, as well as for the rest of your mouth. We offer friendly, non-judgmental services, and take the time to explain any procedure fully, so you understand what is being done and are comfortable with it.


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