Even the thought of going to a dentist can be painful. It might be a childhood memory of an unpleasant dental visit or post-treatment pain that makes us anxious. Experiencing tooth pain after filling is quite common. Some of you might ask that if there is tooth pain after filling then why in the first place you should go for it? But the restoration of a decayed tooth is vital than living with a bad tooth as it will hurt you even more in the near future.

There could be several reasons behind tooth pain after filling such as abscess tooth, an issue with the filling, etc. Usually, tooth pain after filling goes away within one or two days.

Moving further in this article, you will understand what should you expect after getting a tooth restored? The intensity and kind of pain that you may get. How long a tooth pain can persist and how to minimize it?

The need for dental restoration even if it is painful

Restoration or filling of decayed teeth is significant because a bad tooth will hurt you more than temporary tooth pain after filling. Experiencing tooth pain soon after dental filling is absolutely normal. Pain or sensitivity after or during the process of dental filling happens for several reasons.

Sometimes, the discomfort could be mere because your tooth is reacting to the repair process. In other cases, you might feel sensitivity or pain because the filling itself needs to settle in or due to the hypersensitivity of the inflamed nerves of the tooth.

Reasons for tooth pain after filling

It is very common for you to have some pain or sensitivity in a freshly filled tooth. Here are some significant reasons –

Tooth related reasons

We generally advise dental filling for a range of tooth pathologies. These range from a minor decay to more severe issues like an underlying tooth abscess or cyst.

Now, your tooth pain soon after filling depends on the grade of pathology your tooth was undergoing. For example, if there was just a small decay extending only to the hard tissues of the tooth, a low-grade sensitivity occurs after the filling.

But if there was an abscess in the tooth, which involves the highly vascularized soft tissue, then the grade of discomfort is much higher since it affects nerves which carry all our pain sensations. (1)

Needless to say, once the ailment is cured with a filling and post-operative medications, the pain should subside in one to two days.

Issues with the filling

In some rare cases, you might experience extended sensitivity and pain even after several days post dental filling. This condition may be due to an issue with the filling itself. Let’s face it, we all make human errors and so might your dentist.

Minor glitches in the restoration can cause a persisting pain after filling. Here is what all can go wrong in your restoration –

  • Type of dental material used – The filling material used should be in harmony with the tooth. An excessively rigid material can lead to fracture of the filling as well as the tooth, causing tooth pain.
  • Overextending fillings – If the filling goes well beyond the boundaries of the prepared cavity, it might impinge on the gums and cause pain.
  • Under restoration – If the filling covers the cavity insufficiently, there can be food lodgment in the cavity, and this causes pain.
  • The height of restoration – It is mandatory to check if the patient can bite adequately after the filling. If proper bite can’t be achieved due to excessive height of the restoration, this can cause pain in the tooth as well as in the jaw joint (TMJ).
  • Deep cavity preparation – While filling decay, the dentist often extends the already existing cavity to remove all the infection. In this process, if the preparation extends too deep into the tooth, it might lead to sensitivity and post-treatment pain.
  • Residual infection – If all the infected tooth structure is not removed, it might lead to secondary infection, and this leads to a painfully failed filling.
  • Unhealed lesions – If the underlying lesion like an abscess, cyst or granuloma is not entirely healed before the dentists seal the cavity with a filling, there can be a severe post-operative pain. (2)

Psychological pain or discomfort

Often, there are no medical reasons for pain after a filling, but the patient complains of post-operative pain. This, in most cases, has a psychological basis.

The patient has most likely gone through a painful dental experience in the past. This makes the patient over anxious for future dental visits and procedures leading to a false feeling of discomfort.

Nature and course of post-treatment dental pain

After a dental filling process, pain and sensitivity exist for about 48 hours and this is an ordinary post-treatment experience which subsides without any further intervention.

The nature of this pain is usually dull and intermittent. The discomfort elevates if you chew anything using the freshly restored tooth. (3)

But if the nature of this pain is sudden and sharp, accompanied with bleeding or any discharge, you should immediately consult your dentist. Also, if the tooth pain persists over three days, meet with your dentist.

If there is a pain, there is also a solution

The first and foremost full proof method to avoid tooth pain after filling is to follow the exact instructions given by your dentist such as –

  • Avoid using the restored tooth for at least 24 hours. Do not chew hard substances for a week with the affected side.
  • Avoid vigorous brushing and flossing in the treated area for a few days.
  • Make sure you complete the dosage of post-treatment medications prescribed to you. This heals all the residual infection and helps subside the pain.

For persistent pain and or bleeding and discharge, visit your dentist immediately. All the restoration flaws mentioned above are entirely correctable easily. So, do not wait around for some miraculous self-healing.

Over to you on tooth pain after filling

Always remember, any kind of healing comes with a side of pain and discomfort. Do not hesitate or back down from dental filling in anticipation of tooth pain that may or may not occur. Post dental filling pain and discomfort is very common, so do not panic if you get one.

Do not use self-medication as it might just worsen your pain because tooth doesn’t function the same way as your aching arm. The dentist is not your enemy, hesitation to see a dentist might just worsen your case.

Taking all of this into consideration, you should be just fine in your next dental appointment.

There could be several reasons behind tooth pain after filling such as abscess tooth, an issue with the filling, etc. Usually, tooth pain after filling goes away within one or two days.