Do you have a cavity in your tooth? If yes, your dentist will most likely recommend you to go with a dental filling. A filling doesn’t cause any such trouble and is usually safe; however, sometimes people complain about experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity after a few days or even months.
You don’t need to worry much as sensitive teeth aren’t a big issue. Additionally, the discomfort and pain will get better within a few days.
However, if things aren’t normal and you have throbbing tooth pain after filling the cavity, or the sensitivity is accompanied by redness, fever, or inflammation, immediately see your dentist.
This article will explain some of the most common reasons you may have tooth sensitivity after a filling, remedies for tooth pain, and when you should consult your doctor or dentist. Moreover, you’ll learn about the other potential causes of teeth sensitivity.
What happens after a dental filling?
During the dental filling, a dentist or hygienist thoroughly cleanses the tooth to remove the decay and any other debris and then fills it with a filling material.
The first step in this procedure is the injection of a numbing agent around the affected tooth. Next, the decayed tooth site is cleaned using a dental drill and filled with porcelain, amalgam, or other materials.
For at least a few hours after the dental work, you may still have numbness in your face, or it may feel itchy or tingly. Apart from that, you may find it hard to talk, eat, swallow, or even move your face.
Avoiding foods and drinks for a few hours is the best thing to do after a filling. This is because with your mouth numb, you may unconsciously bite your cheek or tongue, and it can hurt.
When the anesthesia wears off, your sensations will return. In the coming days, the inside of your mouth may feel a little odd due to the filling.
Pain or sensitivity around the filled-up tooth is very common after a dental filling and must be dealt with bravery.
Why do I have a toothache even after a filling?
The sensitivity can be defined as a feeling of discomfort or ache in the tooth with a filling that is triggered due to certain factors. You can imagine it as a toothache that suddenly comes and goes.
Your teeth can hurt after a filling due to many reasons.
- If your tooth becomes sensitive after a filling, it can hurt if you eat popsicles, chilled drinks, or ice cream
- Temperature sensitivity after a filling can make it difficult for your teeth to handle hot drinks. Additionally, it may cause extreme pain drinking tea or coffee
- When you breathe through the mouth, the air hits your teeth; unfortunately, it can be painful at times, especially when the air is cold
- Eating sugary foods can also make your teeth hurt
- Acidic beverages and foods can be unfriendly for your teeth
- The pressure of biting down can sometimes be gruesome.
Why does a cavity filling cause soreness or tooth sensitivity?
Sensitive teeth after a filling don’t happen out of the blue. Furthermore, they get better over time. But in some cases, the toothache after a dental filling can happen due to causes that may require sudden treatment.
Here are the possible causes as to why your teeth may be hurting after a filling and when to contact a dentist near you.
An irritated nerve
When a cavity reaches close to the tooth’s nerve, a deep filling is required, and you may experience severe tooth pain afterward. This happens because a deep filling can irritate the nerve inside the tooth.
The outer layer of the tooth consists of enamel and cementum that protect the nerve from external factors. A deep filling can get close to the tooth nerve and lead to inflammation.
With time, your nerve will get better, and the sensitivity will be a thing of the past. But you’ll have to be patient for a few weeks before things get better. Once you fully recover from a damaged nerve, you’ll see that a filled tooth and the remaining teeth feel exactly the same.
Incorrect bite alignment
The filling in a tooth must level up with the surrounding teeth. If it’s high, it can take excess pressure when biting. In this case, the toothache and sensitivity will be a lot more than what comes with a leveled filling.
Your teeth will be mildly sensitive for the first few days when biting down after the filling. Usually, the bite will get better within a month or less.
If you are experiencing severe pain or sensitivity or finding it hard to close your mouth or eat, visit your dentist and have your bite examined.
Pulpitis can cause tooth sensitivity after a filling
Pulpitis can lead to extreme sensitivity and can make your tooth hurt really bad.
If you undergo a minor filling, you may not have pulpitis. However, you can experience it in the following cases:
- If a dental trauma has given you a broken or cracked tooth.
- You had a very deep cavity that reached close to the inner layer of the pulp
- Your tooth has had several treatments or fillings
Pulpitis can be treated with another filling or through a restorative dental procedure such as a root canal. To learn about how much time is required for a root canal, go through this article.
How long should my teeth be sore or hurt after dental fillings?
If you’re wondering how long the tooth sensitivity will last following a filling, expect it to stay for at least 3-4 weeks. If you feel that the sensitivity isn’t getting better even after a month, consult with your dentist.
Remedies for sensitive teeth
If you have mild tooth sensitivity after a filling, you can use desensitizing toothpaste to ease your pain and discomfort.
Potassium nitrate in these toothpastes helps reduce the painful sensations on the tooth’s surface and stops them from reaching the endpoints of the nerve inside the tooth.
Don’t expect the paste to bring you instant relief. Wait for a few days to notice a change in your sensations.
Here are some effective home remedies that you can follow to get rid of sensitive teeth after a filling.
- You can use OTC pain medication such as ibuprofen
- Oral ointments can be bought online or from a drugstore and can be very useful.
- When your teeth are hurting, make sure you’re not making them worse by using a toothbrush with hard bristles. Only use a soft-bristled toothbrush specially designed for sensitive teeth.
- Brush very gently in a circular motion and don’t scrub it forward and backward or push it too hard on your teeth or gums.
- Floss at least once a day and do it very gently; otherwise, you may end up hurting your teeth or gums.
- Revise your daily menu and note what food items or beverages are making your teeth sensitive – avoid them if you don’t want discomfort.
- Avoid whitening toothpaste and products that can make sensitivity worse. Stop using toothpastes formulated for teeth whitening as they can aggravate the sensitivity. To whiten your teeth at home, you can use other alternatives that will not cause any discomfort.
- When you’re done with acidic drinks or foods, thoroughly rinse your mouth to save your tooth enamel from wear-off.
If you still have tooth sensitivity weeks or months after a filling, it’s time to see a dental expert. It is important to eliminate the other possible causes of sensitivity that aren’t related to a filling so proper treatment can be provided.
What else can make your teeth hurt?
Tooth sensitivity can also happen for reasons unrelated to a dental filling. If sensitivity disturbs you weeks or months after your oral procedure, these can be the problems:
A tooth abscess can contribute to sensitivity after a filling
When an infection develops in the tooth’s nerve, it is called a tooth abscess. The reason behind an abscess can be a cracked tooth, deep decay, or gum disease.
Here are some of the symptoms of an abscess:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Throbbing tooth pain
- Foul taste in the mouth
- Red, swollen gums
A person should seek immediate dental care for a tooth abscess.
Loose, broken, or older fillings
A filling cannot last for a lifetime; unfortunately, it only lasts for a certain amount of years. If your old filling breaks, it can lead to sensitivity and aches when it starts getting close to the tooth nerve.
Even if your loose or damaged cavity filling isn’t a source of pain, you should get it replaced to avoid further tooth decay.
Gum (periodontal) disease can be a source of sensitive teeth.
This happens because the gums recede, exposing the tooth’s parts close to the root, making it sensitive. There is an absence of enamel to protect the root of the tooth.
Other symptoms of gum disease include:
- Soreness inside the mouth
- Bad breath
- Teeth gaps
- Loose permanent teeth
- Bleeding gums, especially after an oral care routine
Periodontal disease often comes with no symptoms during the initial stages. That’s why it is in your best interest to see your dentist frequently.
When to see a dentist for tooth sensitivity after a filling
You shouldn’t worry much if you have minor tooth sensitivity after a filling. You can use home remedies to minimize toothaches and discomfort.
However, if the sensitivity or toothache after a filling persists, starts getting worse, is making opening the mouth or chewing difficult, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or severe tooth pain, you should immediately see your nearest dentist.