How long after a cavity filling can I eat?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “How long after a cavity filling can I eat?” Also, we’ll explore what a cavity filling procedure consists of, what are the symptoms of a cavity, what causes a cavity, and what you can do to avoid cavities in your teeth. 

How long after a cavity filling can I eat? 

This will depend on what material your cavity filling is made of. In the case of amalgams (metal caps), a dentist may advise you not to chew with them for at least a whole day. This is because 24 hours is how long it takes for the filling to solidify and achieve maximum strength. 

During this time, you may be instructed to consume bland foods, or otherwise have a smoothie-based diet. 

In the case of composite fillings (which are made of other non-metallic materials such as ceramic, glass, quartz or silica that has been mixed with resin), you will be instructed not to chew with them for at least two hours after they’ve been exposed to UV light that helps temper them. 

While the latter may seem more convenient in this sense users need to be aware of the pros and cons of each type of filling, as amalgams are much more durable than composite resins, albeit a touch less aesthetic. 

Below, we’ll describe what happens when a dentist fills a cavity. 

What does a cavity filling procedure consist of? 

A cavity filling is usually done when a patient begins to feel discomfort, which is most often a severe, throbbing toothache.  

A dentist will numb the spot and examine the cavity. Necessarily, your dentist must file a wider opening in your tooth to perform a thorough cleaning, and create a basin which he or she will then take a mold of, and use to create a custom filling. 

If the pain is too severe and there is an infection in the root, your dentist will have to perform a root canal to quell the pain and prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. 

A root canal consists in “killing” the nerve under the tooth and replacing it with a filling that will feel no pain. 

Your dentist may require 2 to 3 sessions of drilling the root of your tooth before fitting the opening with a prosthesis and crafting the mold and negative for your cavity.

Between these sessions, the dentist will provide you with a temporary plaster-based filling to avoid food and bacteria from building up in the cavity. 

Once the mold has been used to craft a custom filling and your root canal has been completed (if deemed necessary) your dentist will install the filling with an adhesive, and file it down to match your bite. 

From here, you will be instructed to let the filling sit while it hardens and sets in, which depending on the material, can be between 2 to 24 hours. 

What are the symptoms of a cavity? 

Symptoms may include throbbing toothaches, headaches, swelling in the gums and area around the tooth, bad breath (due to an infection), stains on the affected tooth, and of course, grooves and openings that may expose the nerve under the tooth. 

The pain may be triggered by biting down if there’s swelling, or by changes in temperature when drinking hot or cold beverages. 

What causes a cavity? 

A cavity is caused by the erosion of a tooth’s enamel. Your enamel may have worn away due to poor dental hygiene, a diet high in acidic compounds, and tooth decay, which is a polymicrobial disease. 

Notably, diets rich in sugars favor the development of cavities, as sugars favor the formation of plaque (which are films of microbes), which in turn secrete acidic compounds and wear down your teeth’s enamel. 

Some deficiencies such as fluoride can also hasten the onset of cavities, and other conditions such as bulimia, heartburn, and other disorders that expose your teeth to acid (in this case, gastric acids) can cause cavities.  

What can I do to avoid cavities in my teeth?

To avoid cavities in your teeth, it is important to maintain proper hygiene. Brushing your teeth constantly, flossing safely, and using mouthwash can help you extend the life of your teeth. 

Also, you may consult with your dentist regarding the possibility of using sealants to cover your teeth’s enamel and prevent cavities. 

Alternatively, you can schedule regular cleaning with your dentist, and receive fluoride treatments that’ll help replenish your enamel. 

Cavities are a very painful affliction, and if you’re suffering severe symptoms, we advise you to seek a dentist’s help. Severe symptoms have a slim chance of abating on their own, and a dentist will evaluate you to determine whether or not an infection requiring antibiotics has set in. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the query: “How long after a cavity filling can I eat?” Also, we’ve explored what a cavity filling procedure consists of, what are the symptoms of a cavity, what causes a cavity, and what you can do to avoid cavities in your teeth. 

References 

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/sealants

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cavities/symptoms-causes/syc-20352892

https://www.healthline.com/health/can-you-eat-after-a-filling#types-of-fillings

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542165/#:~:text=Dental%20infections%20originate%20at%20the,can%20later%20cause%20periodontal%20disease.

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