What Causes Tooth Filling Pain?

Fillings are meant to repair your teeth, but what if after your appointment you have tooth filling pain? Here are some of the symptoms and advice on who you should consult to get you back to feeling your best.

What Does It Feel Like?

If your dentist discovers a cavity, they will most likely prescribe a filling to drill away the decay and fill the resulting area with a filling. When you return home and after the local anesthetic wears off, you may begin to feel tooth filling pain. The discomfort may be caused by a filling that is too high or one that has sharp edges. Another source of pain may be galvanic shock. Galvanic shock occurs when adjacent fillings composed of different metals (one of gold and the other made of amalgam) touch and produce an electric current; however, this situation is rare.

The new filling may also be aggravated by hot, cold or sweet food and beverages, air and pressure from chewing.

How Can You Feel Better?

If the filling is too high or has sharp edges, return to the office and the dentist can file it down and smooth the edges. Any other sensitivities should subside in a week or two. If it doesn't, schedule a return visit to your dentist, and they may refer you to a dental specialist known as an endodontist. The American Association of Endodontists defines an endodontist as a dental professional who specializes in identifying tooth pain, performing root canals and, most importantly, saving teeth.

The endodontist may determine that your cavity was deeper than suspected and the decay traveled into your tooth pulp. In that case, they will most likely perform a root canal. The procedure entails first numbing the tooth with a local anesthetic. Then, a small hole will be drilled through the tooth to access the infected pulp, which will then be removed. X-rays will be taken at different points during the visit to ensure all the infected tissue has been removed. Once the tooth is irrigated and cleaned, the root(s) are filled with a temporary material called gutta percha.

Some root canal procedures require two visits. One for the actual root canal and the second to ensure the tooth is clean and to get a crown fitted. After your final visit, your endodontist will send you home with care instructions, but you should no longer have tooth pain.

Can You Avoid Tooth Filling Pain?

The best way to avoid tooth filling pain is to prevent developing cavities in the first place! Keep your smile clean and healthy by flossing once a day and brushing twice a day with a toothpaste, like Colgate Total Advanced Deep Clean. It helps prevent plaque, gingivitis, tartar build-up, cavities and bad breath. Make sure to visit your dental hygienist for a complete professional teeth cleaning appointment at least twice a year.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What to Expect During a FILLING

  1. Local anesthesia – at the beginning of your filling procedure, you may be given local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth.

  2. Tooth decay removal – then the dentist will cut through the enamel using a drill to remove any decay. After the dentist removes the decay, the dentist will shape the space to ready it for the filling.

  3. Etching – for a bonded filling your dentist will etch the tooth with an acid gel before placing the filling.

  4. Resin application – for certain types of fillings the dentist will layer on the resin and harden it using a bright light. This makes it strong.

  5. Polishing – after the filling has been placed, your dentist will polish the tooth.