It is normal to experience some degree of tooth sensitivity after a filling, but this should improve in the days after your filling. Dental fillings are a safe and beneficial procedure that enable your dentist to restore your tooth’s natural forma and function. Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes of tooth sensitivities and how it can be managed after a filling.
What Happens During Dental Fillings?
When your dentist gives you a filling, she or she will first inject the area with anaesthetic to desensitise it, before removing the decay from your tooth, and then filling that newly created space up with filling material.
After the procedure, you might feel your face is numb or tingly, itchy or swollen. You might find it difficult to eat or drink, talk or move the muscles of your face.
Once the anaesthetic has worn off completely any strange feelings will probably disappear, but you may find they are replaced by heightened sensitivity in the tooth that was filled.
What Is Tooth Sensitivity?
Someone who experiences tooth sensitivity after dental fillings finds that it is triggered by specific foods or actions, and may cause pain or discomfort. Some of these triggers include
Hot or cold drinks or foods
An ice cream or a sip of hot tea may trigger tooth sensitivity.
Biting down when you chew or chewing hard foods can cause a painful sensation in sensitive teeth.
Sugary and sweet foods and drinks can cause an uncomfortable feeling after a filling.
Cold or fast air hitting your teeth when exercising may also feel uncomfortable.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity After A Filling?
Short term or temporary tooth sensitivity can occur because your nerve is inflamed or irritated. Ordinarily your nerve would be protected by your tooth enamel and cementum, but when you have a filling, the nerve endings may get irritated from exposure.
Over time your nerve will heal and the sensitivity will fade. Eventually, you shouldn’t feel any difference when eating and drinking.
Pulpitis is inflammation of your tooth pulp, and can cause tooth pain and sensitivity. It isn’t very common with minor fillings but it may present when:
- You have had a very deep cavity that has penetrated the inner pulp of your tooth
- Your tooth has had a number of fillings
- You have had a trauma that has cracked or broken your tooth.
Any persistent or worsening pain or inflammation should be reported to your dentist as soon as possible.
Problems with bite alignment
After your filling material has hardened, your Top Health dentist will ensure that your filled tooth is in alignment with your other teeth. If the tooth has been built up too far, it can cause extra pressure on your bite, resulting in pain and discomfort.
Your dentist will ask you to bite down and feel whether your bite is normal.
Some patients find this tricky after the anaesthetic, so if you do feel that your filling isn’t quite as comfortable as it could be in the days following your procedure, you should contact your dentist to have it reshaped.
Managing Tooth Sensitivity After Dental Fillings
The majority of patients find that any tooth sensitivity after fillings is mild and easy to manage. Patients with minor dental fillings may not experience any sensitivity at all, because the nerve was not affected.
Take note of what triggers the sensitivity and try to avoid those foods and beverages. If you do find your tooth is sensitive you can also:
Try a desensitising toothpaste
This might not offer immediate relief, but it may improve your condition in a few days using it twice a day.
Over the counter pain reliever may help.
Soft bristled toothbrush
A soft bristled toothbrush is softer and less abrasive on your tooth enamel. Also remember not to brush too hard, especially on your gums. A gentle, circular motion with an angled brush is the most effective way to remove plaque and debris from your teeth.
Do not use whitening products
Avoid whitening and abrasive products, as they can worsen sensitivity and pain after dental fillings.
What if it still doesn’t improve?
If your tooth sensitivity doesn’t improve in the months following your dental fillings, it could point to a more serious condition such as an abscess or gum disease. Regular visits to your dentist can help you to stay on top of any complications and manage your dental health in the most proactive manner for your needs.
Still have questions about your tooth sensitivity after filling? We’d love to help. Please contact our practice for the soonest available appointment: (02) 8776 3232.