How Long After Dental Cleaning Can I Eat?

The Importance of a General Cleaning and Checkup

November 15, 2023 Written By: Joyce Kahng, DDS

Visiting your dentist regularly for a cleaning is one of the best things you can do for your oral health. You may not have been to the dentist in a while, though, and you may not be sure what to expect. What does the process look like? How long after a dental cleaning can I eat? Do I really need to go?

Below is more information about the dental cleaning and checkup process, how long you’ll need to wait to eat, the importance of cleanings, and some other services your general dentist may need to perform if they notice any issues during your checkup.

What Are Dental Cleanings and Checkups?

Dental cleanings and checkups are routine oral healthcare procedures that help to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. During your cleaning and checkup, your dentist will perform an oral exam and possibly take x-rays (especially if it’s been a while since your last visit). If they find any issues that need to be addressed, they will let you know and schedule a follow-up appointment.

During the cleaning, your dentist will use a special tool to scrape away tartar and plaque buildup. They will then brush your teeth with a professional electric toothbrush and special toothpaste. After that, they will floss your teeth.

Your dentist may provide you with tips for brushing and flossing after your cleaning. It’s important to listen to these tips and take the advice of your hygienist to ensure the ongoing health of your teeth and gums.

How Long After a Dental Cleaning Can I Eat?

For most dental cleanings, you can eat immediately after the procedure. There won’t be any waiting period. The main exception would be if you underwent another treatment, such as fluoride treatment. You would then need to wait around 30 minutes or so.

Other procedures will require more time before you can eat, so check with your dentist if you are undergoing any additional procedures.


The Importance of a General Cleaning and Checkup

Cleanings and checkups should be completed every six months. This is extraordinarily important for your ongoing oral health. Even if you take excellent care of your teeth and gums at home, there is a high chance you aren’t removing all of the tartar, plaque, and bacteria. Your dentist will ensure your mouth is completely clean and your teeth and gums aren’t at risk.

Outside of the professional cleaning, your dentist will check to see if you are suffering from gum disease, tooth decay, root infection, or other oral health issues. The earlier these problems can be diagnosed and addressed, the better. Most oral healthcare issues are progressive and will only get worse without proper treatment. For instance, a simple cavity can continue to develop until the decay and bacteria reaches the root and infects it. At that point, you’ll need to undergo root canal treatment.

Gingivitis is another ailment that can be relatively easy to treat if caught very early on. Once it advances, though, you’ll need more complex care. You are also at a higher risk of permanent and irreversible damage.

Make sure you book an appointment every six months to prevent the development of oral health issues and ensure your ongoing oral health.

What If I Haven’t Been to the Dentist in a While?

It’s understandable if you are nervous because you haven’t visited the dentist in a while. With that said, it’s better to go sooner rather than prolong the inevitable. The longer you wait to visit the dentist, the higher the risk of developing advanced oral health issues. What may have been a simple fix can develop into a major procedure. Go now and save yourself the time, effort, and pain that comes with serious oral health conditions.

Let your dentist know if it has been over six months since your last cleaning. They’ll provide you with a thorough inspection and checkup. If you have developed a cavity, gum disease, root infection, or any other issue, they will schedule you for a follow-up. Do not skip this appointment!

Even if you need more advanced care, it’s better to get it now than wait until your teeth fall out and the bone begins to deteriorate.

Other General Dentistry Services

Along with cleanings and checkups, your dentist will be able to perform a variety of different services. These may be required if you have a cavity, root infection, gingivitis, or other issues.

Dental Filling

A dental filling is a dental restoration that involves the use of filling material to fill a cavity created by tooth decay. Fillings are pretty common, but they can be easily avoided with proper at-home care and regular trips to the dentist.

Root Canal

A root canal (or root canal therapy) is a treatment method that involves the removal of infected tooth pulp. Once your dentist removes the infected pulp and bacteria, they will clean the inside of your tooth and place a filling. Generally, a root infection can be avoided when a cavity is taken care of in a timely manner.

Tooth Extraction

Obviously, it’s best to try and avoid tooth extraction. Tooth extractions are often a result of extremely poor oral healthcare. If you don’t visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups and/or you don’t take care of your oral health at home, your teeth can decay and become so infected that they need to be removed. It’s best to get care early on and save your tooth.

Get Your Appointment Scheduled

If you don’t have an appointment in the books for a cleaning and checkup, get one scheduled today! If you have an upcoming appointment and it’s before a lunch meeting or dinner, don’t worry! You’ll be able to eat and drink right after the procedure. If you are undergoing any additional procedures at the same time, speak with your dentist. They’ll let you know if you need to wait before you eat or drink something.

Smile Smarter,
Dr. Joyce

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