An extremely common question after a dental procedure is “How long should I wait to eat or drink after a dental procedure?” We recommend listening to your dentist’s recommendations, but we put this article together to serve as a guide.

Cleaning / Fluoride

Recommended wait time: 30 minutes

You really don’t have to wait any time at all to eat after a dental cleaning. However, some people’s teeth are sensitive after a cleaning, so to avoid unnecessary pain they should avoid extreme hot/cold temperatures and hard food, as some people’s teeth begin to hurt after they drink something hot or cold.

Some foods you may want to avoid for a while after your teeth have been cleaned include:

  • Cold
  • Crunchy
  • Sticky
  • Citrus
  • Spicy

Foods you can eat without any problem after cleaning are:

  • Soft foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, applesauce, hummus, goat cheese
  • Soup
  • Boiled eggs

At a cleaning appointment or after the cleaning, is an excellent time to get a fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps to make the enamel on your teeth stronger by replacing minerals that are lost from your teeth over time. If you received cosmetic dentistry services such as a cleaning/fluoride treatment, eating and drinking immediately after can remove the fluoride treatment. That’s right, try to not even rinse for at least 30 minutes after the treatment. It’s especially important to avoid rough, sticky, or acidic foods as they can cause further damage.


Recommended wait time: Be careful with eating while you still have your temporary crown in place.

You have to be extremely careful with the foods you eat after being fitted with a temporary crown while waiting for the permanent one.

In the days following your procedure, make sure you avoid the following foods:

1) Nuts. Too crunchy for the temporary crown.

2) Crunchy vegetables. Same problem as the nuts.

3) Sticky foods. Think caramel and candy. You shouldn’t eat this stuff anyway because the sugar causes cavities, but it’s especially important with temporary crowns.

4) Hot / Cold Foods. This can cause discomfort so it’s important to use toothpaste made for sensitive teeth during this time.

5) Soda. They’re high in sugar so it’s bad for dental health anyway.

6) Gum. If it’s gets stuck on the temporary crown it can do damage.

7) Raisins. They’re too sticky so they made do some damage to the crown.

8) Popcorn. The kernels can easily wedge themselves in such a way that damages the temporary crown.

9) Ice. Don’t chew on it!

10) Steak. It’s best to stick to softer foods like chicken or fish.


Recommended wait time: If the filling is made of metal it’s best to wait 24 hours for the filling to harden. If the filling is resin-based, it hardens instantly so you can eat or drink immediately.

These are some other things to consider besides the material of the filling:

Local Anesthetic – If you have had a local anesthetic, you will want to wait until after the numbing agent has worn off. Eating before the anesthetic wears off could cause you to accidentally bit your tongue. Numbing usually take 1 to 3 hours to go away.

Gum Tissue Irritation – It can be common for the gum tissue near the tooth that has been filled to become irritated and sore. This can last for a few days. Rinse with warm salt water to help your gum to feel better.
Bite Feels Different – Sometimes your bite will feel a bit “off” after having a tooth filled. If it feels uneven for a few days and you don’t get used to it, call your dentist. This is a fairly simple adjustment the dentist can make.


Recommended wait time for a whitening: 24 to 72 hours

After you have had a whitening treatment, it is best to wait a day or so before eating any foods that can re-stain or irritate sensitive teeth. You just don’t want to undo what the whitening treatment has done! If you can’t wait to drink coffee or soft drinks, use a straw. In general, you should definitely avoid:

  • Liquids with dark color (coffee, dark tea, red wine)
  • Foods full of sugar
  • Foods with added color (soy sauce, ketchup, chocolate, bologna)
  • Acidic beverages (soft drinks, fruit juices, alcohol)

Contact Sninski & Schmitt For All Of Your Dental Health Needs Today

There’s no need to suffer, in fact, it’s better not to! Contact Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry today to make an appointment and successfully rid yourself of tooth sensitivity. Call us at 919-600-6262 (Holly Springs, NC), 919-467-2203 (Cary, NC), or fill out the form below.

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