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Winter Park Dentistry- Post Care Guide for dental fillings

Dr. Ramzi Matar:

This is post-care instructions for patients of mine that have had a filling put in. I’m going to generalize with both silver and white fillings because generally the instructions are the same. The only major difference is silver fillings, you should not eat on them for about 2 hours, as silver fillings do harden up similar to concrete overtime, versus white fillings are hardened up in the chair. If you’ve had a white filling you noticed the blue light that shined on it, that actually hardens the filling, and when you get out of the chair it’s going to be as hard as it’s going to be. It’s hardened or cured immediately, while silver fillings take a little bit longer, because they set up on their own.

Probably the biggest instruction immediately after the filling is not to drink something very hot. I’m always nervous for patients because they want to go drink, they’ve been in a chair, they get a hot cup of coffee, they’re numb, they don’t know how hot it is, they can burn themselves, or they can chew their lip if they’re trying to eat. I’ve seen that happen all too many times, they come back panicking because their lip is burnt or something, and it looks awful. If anybody’s seen a traumatized lip, it swells like crazy, or a tongue, it swells like crazy, and it bleeds, it looks awful and it takes a long time to heal. Immediate care is just being careful with the area.

As the numbness wears off, I typically give my patients Advil or Tylenol, or both, because you’re usually a little bit sore around were the needle was, and sometimes we have to push on the gums for the fillings, we have to put things in and around the gums, so often times the gums around there are kind of sore. Those are the most common. So usually Advil is on board or, if it’s not, you can take an Advil for a little bit of soreness. Next most important instruction would be if the bite feels off. We always try to make the bite even, before you leave the dental chair, but inevitably you’re leaning back, you’re numb, we can’t always get your bite perfect. It’s very important that you don’t think that the filling will wear on its own. It will not. It will cause problems, it will cause toothaches, it will cause your tooth to be very sensitive, it will cause your tooth to break. It’s very important if the bite feels off to get back to me, or your dentist, or whoever, and have them adjust the bite and make sure it’s even. It needs to be done as quickly as reasonably possible. It’s not an emergency, you can go back the next day, but you don’t want to sit on it and just think “oh, it will wear into place, I’ve heard that before”. It’s not the truth. You do want to get it addressed.

When it comes to sensitivity, two to three days of sensitivity for both silver or white fillings is not uncommon. We try to desensitize the tooth, we try to do everything we can, and I’d say that 80%, 90% of the time, we have no sensitivity. With white fillings, even higher percentage of the time is no sensitivity. I do find that silver fillings tend to be a little bit more sensitive for a few days, but ultimately the sensitivity will go away for both of them. If the cavity was deep, most of the time I’m telling my patients “listen, this cavity was very deep, it was very close to the nerve, so sometimes this pain can become worse, you need to know that.” If you start having dull, throbbing pain, aching pain, pain at night, sharp, shooting pain, these are all things we need to know about. For the most part, like I said, 95% of the time, you should have little to no sensitivity, two or three days is normal. If the bite needs to be adjusted, let us know, but those are the major take home messages. Ultimately, if after three or four days you’re still feeling something off, get back to us, call us, something, get in.