Composite Fillings – Post-Treatment Instructions

In a day and age when everyone wants bright, white teeth, composite fillings are more popular than ever. For cosmetic reasons, composite (tooth-colored) fillings are now used more often than amalgam (silver) or gold filings, according to the American Dental Association. Julie Kardon, your dentist in Cherry Hill NJ, recommends the following:

If you’ve had composite fillings, following these instructions after treatment:

  1. Your new composite fillings will be hard before you even leave the office, so you can eat right away. (On the other hand, silver fillings are soft for the first 24 hours) If anesthesia was used, your lips and tongue may be numb for several hours after your treatment. It’s best to avoid chewing until the numbness has completely worn off. It’s easy to bite your tongue when it’s numb! Keep a close eye on children until the anesthesia has worn off to be sure they don’t chew their lips, cheeks or tongue, which may feel funny due to the anesthesia.
  2. You may notice hot and cold sensitivity for several weeks. If the filling was for a deep cavity, sensitivity will be more likely. This is normal and should subside over time. Before you know it, this sensitivity to hot and cold, as well as sensitivity to pressure, will be gone.
  3. Your gums may be a little tender, especially at the needle site if anesthesia was used. Rinsing the area several times a day with warm salt water can help ease the soreness. It’s fine for adults to take ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) every 4 to 6 hours until the soreness wears off. This will also help relieve the slight swelling that may occur at the anesthesia injection site.
  4. If the tooth that was filled feels unbalanced or your bite seems off, call our office. Some fine-tuning can even out your bite. You may notice a different shape or angle to your tooth after having it filled. Your tongue can amplify this tiny difference and make it seem larger than it really is. You should get used to your new composite filling very soon.