Dental fillings are used to restore the damaged teeth and bring them back to function. Furthermore, it helps to prevent and arrest tooth decay. (1)
It always takes time to adjust with the new filling in the mouth. Sometimes, the patient may experience tooth sensitivity, as well.
Tooth sensitivity can be due to air pressure, temperature, or consumption of sweet food. Often children experience these symptoms after getting a tooth filled.
Such experiences can be stressful for the children, and they may resist going back to the dentist again.
However, as parents, you can help soothe their symptoms by taking certain precautions. The first step to follow is to inform and prepare the child about what to expect while getting a tooth filled.
Avoid sweet, and sticky food instead gives them healthy and staple diet. Usually, tooth sensitivity reduces and wears away on its own.
Let’s continue to read the article and learn in detail about the reasons behind tooth sensitivity after filling and steps that you can follow to relive it.
What do you mean by a dental filling?
Dental fillings are materials that replace tooth structure to maintain its shape and integrity. Commonly this procedure is done to treat cavitated teeth or decayed teeth.
The procedure is simple and does not require much time. However, it may leave the patient with sensitive teeth afterward. Most often, the tooth sensitivity wears away on its own within a few days or several weeks.
What does a patient feel after tooth filling?
Dental fillings are commonly performed under, which is why the patient usually doesn’t feel anything during the first two hours after getting the filling.
Unusual sensations may start to develop when the effect of anesthesia wears off. Some of them may include –
- Dull toothache
- Tooth sensitivity while breathing cold air, drinking hot or cold beverages. (3)
- Tenderness around the gums
- Mild pain on clenching the teeth
- Mild sensitivity or discomfort while eating, brushing or flossing
Why do you experience tooth sensitivity after filling?
There can be several reasons behind the sensitivity of the tooth. Some of the common causes are listed below –
Change in bite
Sometimes, a filled tooth may seem to have high points. It makes biting and chewing a painful process because of the extra pressure placed on the treated tooth.
Biting on hard objects may even result in fracture of the filling. Contact your dentist to reduce the high points or replace the filling in case of fracture.
Removal of caries from a decayed tooth surface requires some amount of tooth drilling. However, the heat produced from drilling can affect the underlying pulp. Rarely, in deep cavities, the pulp gets inflamed, causing a condition called pulpitis.
Reversible pulpitis causes temporary tooth sensitivity. As the pulp heals and comes back to its normal state, the sensitivity reduces and wears away.
Involvement of multiple tooth surface
There are two categories to this factor –
- Involvement of many tooth surfaces on a single tooth often causes sensitivity as the majority of the tooth structure gets replaced by a foreign substance which is chemically bonded to the tooth surface.
- Another factor is having two different types of fillings in opposite teeth. For example, having a silver filling opposite to a tooth covered with a gold crown can cause a phenomenon called galvanism. This process can cause an immense amount of tooth sensitivity. (4)
Allergic reactions to specific dental materials often cause tooth sensitivity. The later symptoms followed by tooth sensitivity are a rash or itching near the treated tooth. (5)
If you notice any of such symptoms, immediately contact your dentist and get your filling replaced by a material that is suitable for you.
Some people may feel pain in the tooth adjacent to the tooth treated. Referred pain is quite common after a dental procedure. It involves feeling pain in an area which is away from the source of pain.
What can you do to relive the tooth sensitivity after filling?
Being cautious and following precautionary measures can help to reduce tooth sensitivity after dental filling.
- If you feel pain on biting Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Advil can help to reduce the pain
- Avoid too hot or cold foods and drinks
- Avoid eating acidic foods or beverages such as citrus fruit, yogurt, and wine.
- Apply gentle pressure while brushing or flossing
- Use desensitizing toothpaste to relieve sensitivity over time
- Try to chew the food from the opposite side of your mouth until the sensitivity wears away.
- If you feel that your filling has high points or if you notice an allergic reaction, contact your dentist immediately to do the needful.
Usually, tooth sensitivity lasts for a week or two after you get your tooth filled. If tooth sensitivity doesn’t seem to be reduced gradually, visit the dentist to look for other factors that may be causing the sensitivity.
Take away message
A dental filling is a standard procedure done to replace the decayed tooth structure with a dental material that maintains the strength, aesthetics, and integrity of the tooth structure.
As simple as this procedure may sound, there are certain after effects that a patient may experience after getting a tooth filled.
One of the common symptoms of tooth filling is tooth sensitivity. Several reasons may cause tooth sensitivity in an already filled tooth.
Some of them may include inflammation of the pulp from the heat during drilling, the involvement of multiple tooth surfaces, allergic reaction to specific foiling materials, and referred pain.
Often tooth sensitivity wears away within a week or two. However, you can follow the precautionary steps mentioned above to reduce the sensitivity.
If your sensitivity lasts longer than a month or you notice any rash or itching around the area, contact your dentist immediately to replace the filling.