White fillings are made from composite material, which hardens immediately.
If you need to have a damaged tooth repaired, you might consider a white filling. White fillings are made from a composite material that can be matched to the colour of the teeth — this means that they are virtually invisible and can resolve issues like decay without compromising on the aesthetic of one’s smile. But can you eat immediately after you have had a white filling placed? Read on to find out what the procedure involves and how long you should wait before you enjoy a snack…
How long do white fillings take to harden?
One of the advantages of white composite fillings is that they harden as soon as your dentist applies a blue UV light to your tooth. Because the composite material hardens so quickly, it’s usually fine to eat as soon as your procedure is complete. That said, your dentist may advise that you avoid chewing on the filling if you still feel numb as a result of the anaesthetic. The effects of the anaesthetic can take a couple of hours to subside, in which case you shouldn’t chew on your new filling until all feeling has returned to your mouth.
While composite white fillings harden immediately, amalgam fillings usually take around 24 hours to harden completely. For this reason, it is generally recommended that you don’t chew on a new amalgam filling for at least 24 hours when the material has reached optimal strength.
What other factors can affect chewing ability?
Although a composite white filling hardens quickly, there are a few other factors to consider before you chew on your new restoration. Your dentist will likely use a local anaesthetic to numb the site of treatment before placing your filling. It is important that you don’t eat before the effect of the anaesthetic has worn off — chewing while still numb can cause you to bite the inside of your cheek, tongue, or lips. Try and wait between one and three hours before eating to ensure that the anaesthetic has completely worn off.
You might experience some discomfort after you have had a filling placed. In this case, you may not feel like eating until this pain has subsided. Speak to your dentist about taking over-the-counter pain medication if you are concerned.
It is also possible to experience some sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks after you have had a filling placed. This should subside within a week or two.
Are there foods to avoid?
Although a composite filling should restore full function to your damaged tooth, it is a good idea to bite and chew carefully if you are experiencing any discomfort or sensitivity following treatment. Amalgam fillings are much more likely to dislodge due to chewing on hard and sticky foods compared with composite white fillings. Still, it is a good idea to avoid snacks like hard and sticky candy, whole nuts and popcorn while you are still feeling some discomfort and tenderness following your treatment. Sugary foods are also best avoided as they can exacerbate any tooth sensitivity that you experience. Sugar also tends to promote the growth of harmful bacteria around a new filling and can lead to issues like decay. Hot and cold foods and drinks can also trigger sensitivity, so you may want to avoid them while adjusting to your new restoration.
How can we help?
At Extreme Dentistry, we offer white fillings made from a composite material and can be colour-matched to your tooth enamel’s exact shade. The treatment is a great means of restoring a damaged tooth without compromising on quality or aesthetic. To find out more about the white fillings that we provide, please have a look here.
To arrange a consultation to see us, please get in touch with us here or give us a call on 08 8948 1225.