I Feel Faint: Whether Or Not To Eat Before Getting A Tooth Filled

If your version of preparing for a dental appointment includes not eating in the morning before the appointment (so you don't blast your dentist with breakfast breath), you may need to double-check that with your dentist. Sometimes the stress from what is technically surgery plus the push by your body to start healing can make you feel light-headed and weak if you haven't eaten anything. But be aware that if you eat, you also have to ensure your blood sugar levels don't soar into unhealthy territory.

Physical Stress and Blood Sugar

Any sort of stress can increase your blood sugar, including something like getting a tooth filled. Your tooth is essentially being opened up while your system is dealing with local anesthesia. In addition to the physical stress, you have the mental stress of trying to avoid hearing the drilling sound.

This increase in blood sugar can be a real problem because it can interfere with wound healing. And, if you already have diabetes, the higher levels of blood sugar can aggravate your condition.

Food and Blood Sugar

Eating also increases your blood sugar, especially if you eat something with a high glycemic load. Combine the elevated blood sugar from surgery stress and the elevated blood sugar from eating the wrong thing, and you could develop hyperglycemia. Side effects and consequences of hyperglycemia include eye damage and skin infections.

Staying Alert and Blood Sugar

But for many people, the stress from the surgery can make them a bit light-headed, to the point of having trouble concentrating on the road if they have to drive home after the dental appointment. Having something to eat can help you maintain a sense of being alert and grounded. The food gets your system going and helps you counter the fog-producing effects of the stress.

Balanced Foods for Controlling Blood Sugar

If you have prediabetes, diabetes, or any other condition for which you need to watch your blood sugar level, your dentist might advise you to avoid eating. But if you normally don't have blood sugar issues, ask your dentist if you can eat something like oatmeal or fresh fruit -- something with fiber or another food that won't create a big spike in your blood sugar. Other suitable choices may include:

  • Whole-grain bread and tortillas
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Turkey bacon
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Nuts

Sedation Complications

If your tooth filling will involve actual sedation, and not just local novocaine, talk to your dentist about whether you should eat before the procedure. In this case, food can be dangerous because there's the risk of you throwing up and possibly choking. Get your dentist to spell out exactly what you need to do regarding eating and managing blood sugar after a sedation procedure.

If you want more information on how to manage your health during and after tooth surgery, contact your family dentist and discuss how your current health status could affect what you do. Ideally, you want to get through the surgery with a minimum of side effects, and avoiding light-headedness is easy to do.