Tooth Pain After a Filling: Is It Normal?

It is relatively common for you to have some pain or sensitivity in the treated tooth after a filling. After all, a dentist was just poking around and drilling in the tooth. Usually, any discomfort should fade after a day or two. Why do some people experience tooth pain for longer than the normal period after a filling? There are many reasons you might feel a bit of pain or sensitivity after a dentist fills your tooth, beyond the normal discomfort.


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 correctly when you bite down. Your dentist can adjust the height of your filling so that you can bite down with comfort and ease.

Type of Filling

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 and may result from 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.

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.

Exposed Pulp

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.

Keep in mind that your new filling may also be aggravated by hot, cold or sweet food and beverages, as well as air and pressure from chewing. These sensitivities should subside in a week or two. If they don't, schedule a return visit to your dentist. They may refer you to a dental specialist known as an endodontist, a dental professional who specialises in identifying tooth pain, performing root canals, and most importantly, saving teeth. The endodontist may determine that your cavity was deeper than suspected and that the decay had gone into your tooth pulp. In that case, they will most likely perform a root canal. In South Africa, many general dentists can perform root canal procedures themselves, so referral to an endodontist may not be required.

What to Do About the Pain

The goal of getting a filling is to correct tooth cavities and ease any discomfort. But 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, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. He or she will be able to pinpoint and correct the issue.

If you want to avoid cavities in the first place, be sure to follow 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 for spotting any problems before they need major treatments.

Preventive care is always best, but once you need a filing, seek your dentist's help to plan your next steps.

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