After you get a filling in one or more of your teeth, soreness and tooth sensitivity may persist for hours, or even days, after you leave the dentist's office. This can make eating and drinking an uncomfortable affair.
Luckily, by following some common sense chewing tips and avoiding foods that can cause trouble after fillings, you can considerably reduce discomfort:
- Chew slowly and bite lightly: Biting exerts tremendous pressure on the teeth, and this can make them very sore after you get a filling. When chewing your food, take your time and try not to bite all the way through; this will prevent your teeth from making forceful contact. If possible, chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where your filling is.
- Keep your mouth closed when chewing: For some people, even cold air can trigger pain in sensitive teeth. Consequently, besides being good manners, keeping your mouth closed when chewing will lessen the chance of cold air entering your mouth and causing you pain.
- Skip sticky foods: Some fillings, particularly silver (amalgam) ones, take time to set after you leave the dentist's office. Eating sticky or gummy food can, in rare cases, dislodge a new filling, so it's best to avoid them in the short-term.
- Avoid very hot or cold drinks: Moderate temperatures are less likely to trigger pain in sensitive teeth.
- Pass on the sweets: Sugary foods and soft drinks trigger sensitivity in some and may promote bacterial growth around the edges of, or even under, a new filling.
- Don't chew nuts, hard candy, or ice: In addition to causing undue pressure on your teeth while they are still recovering, biting hard foods can dislodge a fresh filling that hasn't yet properly set. This is especially important for silver (amalgam) fillings, as they take longer to set than composite (tooth-colored) fillings.
Always follow your dentist's recommendations regarding chewing tips, what foods to avoid after your procedure, and how long you should wait to eat solid foods after receiving softer filling materials, such as amalgam.
If your teeth remain sensitive for several weeks after a filling, or if pain increases rather than decreases over time, consult with your dentist to explore the causes and possible solutions. Sometimes a minor and painless adjustment, such as filing down a raised area, is all that is needed to relieve the pain. In other cases, the sensitivity could be a sign of a more serious issue.