Although a filling is considered a simple procedure in the dental world, it can come with complications. Any drilling or laser removal of natural tooth structure done to resolve decay and/or damage does pose a risk. Follow these post operative instructions to minimize problems.
- If an anesthetic or numbing agent was used, be very careful eating and drinking until the normal sensations come back. It’s really easy to bite the inside of your lip or cheek when you are numb.
- To reduce discomfort from the injection site and swelling around the treatment area, rinse your mouth three times a day with warm salt water. (1tsp. salt per 8oz. glass or water) It’s normal to have some temporary discomfort.
- If your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold, or pressure, you can use an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. If the sensitivity doesn’t improve or go away completely within 3-4 days, call your dentist for an evaluation. Changes in your bite or new filling materials close to the nerve of the tooth may be the problem.
- Brush and floss normally. The best way to keep your fillings in good shape is to keep them plaque free. The margins between natural tooth and man made materials are always susceptible to recurrent decay. Seeing your hygienist at least twice a year will allow him/her to monitor your dental work and keep infections and tartar under control. You may also want to consider using a prescription fluoride toothpaste if you are high risk for future decay.
- Avoid bad habits like chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and other potentially damaging hard foods. Although modern composite filling materials are very strong, they are not a natural part of your tooth and can break under stress.
- If you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth at night, consider getting a night guard or having yourself evaluated for orthodontic correction. Often times, broken teeth in your future can be avoided by having an ideal bite.
Keep in mind that every situation is different and the process of eliminating decay also removes some healthy tooth. Some teeth have nerve chambers that are closer to the outside of the tooth than others and some people simply tend to be more sensitive.