The goal of getting a filling is to correct tooth decay or cavities and ease any discomfort they might cause. So why do some people experience tooth pain after a filling? There are a variety of reasons why you might feel a bit of pain or sensitivity after a dentist fills your tooth. In some cases, the discomfort is simply a reaction to the process of repairing the tooth. In other instances, you might feel some discomfort because the filling itself needs to be adjusted or another area of the tooth needs repair. Fortunately, you have plenty of options for coping with tooth pain after a filling.
Reasons for Pain After a Filling
It is fairly common for you to have some pain or sensitivity in the treated tooth after a filling. A dentist was just poking around and drilling in the tooth after all. Usually, any discomfort should fade after a day or two.
If you're still having sensitivity and pain several days after your filling, it may be due to an issue with the filling itself or with the tooth. One common reason for pain in a tooth after you get a filling is that the filling isn't positioned quite right, and it's interfering with your bite. A filling that is too high can cause malocclusion, which prevents the teeth from fitting together properly when you bite down.
The type of filling your dentist used can also cause sensitivity or discomfort in the tooth. For example, sensitivity is fairly common when a composite resin material is used in the filling. A study published in the Journal of Conservative Dentistry notes the sensitivity may be a result of the filling shrinking slightly and creating a gap beneath it. There are many ways to cope with or eliminate sensitivity due to a composite filling, from using a different material or changing the method used to place the filling.
What to Do About the Pain
What if it's been a week since your filling and you're still feeling pain when you bite down, eat or even just open your mouth? The best thing to do is schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. He or she will be able to pinpoint and correct the issue.
If it's a matter of malocclusion from a filling that is too high, the dentist will adjust the height of your filling so that you can bite down with comfort and ease. If you're dealing with sensitivity due to a composite filling, the dentist might recommend replacing the filling with a different material. Finally, if an inflamed nerve or an exposed pulp is behind your discomfort, your options might be to have a root canal or for the dentist to remove the damaged tooth and replace it with an implant or bridge.
If you want to avoid cavities in the first place, establish a great oral care routine at home. Brushing twice a day will strengthen your enamel and help prevent cavities. Flossing daily will also help you prevent cavities and will keep your gums healthy. Regular dental visits are important too for spotting any problems before they need major treatments.