You may have heard that you should avoid chewing in the area of a dental filling for at least 24 hours after having a cavity repaired.
However, after filling a cavity, your dental specialist will have explicit guidelines for you to follow concerning when and what to eat.
Certain types of fillings may affect your wait time. We share some suggested tips for eating following a tooth filling.
The type of filling may affect wait time:
Your wait time may be different depending on the kind of filling you get:
- Amalgam (silver) filling. This type of filling takes about 24 hours to completely harden and reach maximum strength. Your dentist will likely recommend waiting for at least 24 hours before chewing on the side of your mouth where the filling is located.
- Composite (white/tooth colored) filling. A composite filling hardens immediately once a dentist puts a blue UV light on your tooth. You can generally eat when you leave your dental specialist’s office. However, Growing Smile recommends waiting for at least 2 hours before chewing on the filling if you’re still numb.
Foods not to eat.
In general, it is a good idea to avoid hard foods that require taking hard bites and a lot of chewing, which eliminates most meats right off the bat. Also, food that is either hot or cold can cause unwanted irritation in the affected area and can delay the recovery time after the filling. Lastly, avoid any foods that are highly acidic as the mouth is much more prone to infection after a filling.
The best foods to eat
While many delicious foods are off-limits after a filling, there are many other delicious meal choices that you can eat after a filling, such as soup and crackers or scrambled eggs. The goal is to find food that goes down easy with little to no chewing. Be sure to make the most of the situation, and try eating foods you normally would never try. If you choose food that is either hot or cold – such as a bowl of soup or a fruit smoothie – be sure to keep it as close to room temperature as possible.
Tips for eating after a filling
- Most people experience some level of tenderness after their dentist has filled one of their teeth. Here are some practical tips you can follow to minimize discomfort:
- Bite and chew carefully. Your jaw can exert a great deal of pressure when biting, so biting down hard following a filling can result in pain. Consider not biting through your food and chewing carefully on the opposite side of the new filling.
- Avoid sticky foods. Eating sticky foods too soon after a filling can dislodge your new filling. It doesn’t happen often and is more likely with amalgam fillings than composite fillings.
- Take your time. By eating slowly, you can avoid biting down too hard and chewing on the side of your mouth where your new filling is located.
- Chew with your mouth closed. If your teeth are sensitive to heat and cold, even cold air can trigger discomfort. By keeping your mouth covered, you lower the chance of cold air getting into your mouth.
Recommended waiting time: If the filling is made of metal it’s best to wait 24 hours for the filling to harden. If the filling is resin-based, it hardens instantly so you can eat or drink immediately (Two hours waiting is recommended)