Tooth decay eventually gives way to cavities. When your dentist detects a cavity in your tooth, he'll likely fill the cavity with material to avoid further decay and sensitivity. The filling process is done under local anesthetic, so immediately after the procedure your mouth may feel strange. Your dentist will give you specific aftercare instructions, but in general you should avoid certain types of food until your sensitivity subsides.
Hot and Cold Foods
In the days following your procedure, you may find that your teeth are especially sensitive to hot and cold foods. Before your dentist fills the tooth, she scrapes and drills the decay out of the tooth to stop further decay. Once the tooth is filled, you may have sensitive areas due to the changed composition of your tooth and the filling which was used. If you do have sensitivity, tell your dentist. She may be able to use a different material for less sensitivity with future fillings.
Gum and Sticky Foods
Depending on the type of material which was used for the filling, your dentist may advise against chewing gum and other sticky foods like chewy caramel or taffy. When your dentist uses silver for the filling, it takes time for the filling to harden completely. Chewing too much could result in a poor fit. Composite fillings are made from a resin that is applied wet and malleable -- the material is completely hardened when you leave the dentist's office. Still, it's a good idea to avoid excessive chewing until the anesthesia wears off and your regain feeling in your mouth.
Stick to soft, healthful foods after getting your filling. Try warm -- but not hot -- pureed vegetable soup, or fruit smoothies made from berries, bananas, milk and nut butter. Gradually start to introduce harder foods, as well as hot and cold foods, into your diet. If your tooth is sensitive after a week, schedule another appointment with your doctor, as the decay may not have been completely removed.
Keeping your teeth healthy and practicing good oral hygiene can also help ensure long-lasting fillings. Brush twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride and floss at least once. When you feel tooth pain, visit your doctor immediately. A filling is more easily performed on a tooth with less decay, which can help shorten the recovery process so you can begin eating the foods you want sooner.