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What to Expect Immediately Following a Filling

Posted on 6/20/2017 by Janie Bell
A close up of a patient receiving a filling.
Oral bacteria can cause tooth decay. The acids produced by these bacteria eat away at the protective enamel layer of your teeth. As they do, small pits are created, known as cavities. Cavities are harder to clean, and bacteria can hide within, causing further damage.

Fillings are a common dental solution that fill the spaces left behind by decay, and prevent bacteria from causing further damage. Here is what you can expect immediately following the procedure.

Tooth Numbness

While not always necessary, in many instances, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to help deal with any discomfort you may feel. Typically, anesthesia will last for a few hours, so the effects could linger anywhere from one to three hours after your procedure.

During this time, you will have numbness on the side of the mouth where your filling was placed. Exercise caution so that you don't bite down on your tongue or cheek. Wait to eat until the anesthesia has worn off.

Teeth Sensitivity

Some sensitivity is to be expected after your filling. You may be sensitive to temperature or pressure. Typically, this will subside in a few days, but could last a couple of weeks.

So long as the sensitivity is subsiding, and not getting worse, there is no cause for concern. You can minimize sensitivity by avoiding foods and drinks that are very hot or cold, as well as those that are sweet, spicy, acidic or salty.

Exercise Caution While Eating
Even after the anesthesia has worn off, you should still be careful while eating, especially in the 24 hours following your procedure. Avoid chewing hard or sticky foods, such as nuts, hard candies, ice, taffy and gum.

Hard foods can cause sharp pain. Sticky foods can, in rare cases, dislodge new fillings. If possible, chew on the opposite side of your mouth.

“Off” Bite
If your bite feels off when you chew, there's a good chance that the filling is too high. This can also cause pain while you chew. Fortunately, this issue is easily altered by your dentist.

Some pain or sensitivity is normal after a filling, but this feeling should subside in a few days. However, if your pain doesn't go away, or gets worse, don't hesitate to contact our office.

D. Ian Bell, D.D.S.
Advanced Aesthetic, Restorative & Family Dentistry
Bellevue-Redmond Professional Center

15613 Bel-Red Rd, Suite A
Bellevue, WA 98008-2348
(425) 883-8333
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