How Long to Wait After the Dentist to Eat?

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How long you need to wait before eating after having a procedure at the dentist’s office will depend largely on the specific type of work that you’ve had done.

Dental exam.
Dental exam. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Cleaning

If you have undergone a regular cleaning and examination, 1greatwhitesmile.com recommends that you wait 30 minutes before eating if you had fluoride treatment done. If you did not have fluoride treatment, go ahead and eat.

Dental cleaning.
Dental cleaning. (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Anesthesia and Numbness

Dental procedures such as extractions, crowns and fillings require that your gums be numb so that you don't feel pain while the procedure is performed. Wait until the numbness wears off before eating. Otherwise, you might bite your tongue or the insides of your gums.

Dental anesthesia.
Dental anesthesia. (Image: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Extractions

Having a tooth extracted is quite invasive. Ask your dentist for specific directions regarding when you can eat.

Tools for tooth extraction.
Tools for tooth extraction. (Image: NA/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Tooth Whitening

According to Mickey Bernstein, DDS, Memphis, if you have had your teeth whitened, wait several days before you eat or drink anything dark colored, such as red wine, coffee, cranberry juice, mustard or tea. The open pores in the teeth need time to close over. Lance Timmerman, DMD, Seattle, notes that teeth that have just been whitened are in what is considered a demineralized state and are more likely to stain. Saliva will help remineralize the enamel in 48 hours, and that is when you can resume eating foods that tend to discolor teeth.

Laser dental whitening.
Laser dental whitening. (Image: oneblink-cj/iStock/Getty Images)

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