Chances are high that at some point in your life you or someone you have known has gotten a tooth filling. A tooth filling involves a dentist or oral surgeon removing a decayed or absent area of tooth, and filling in the area with, well, a filling. The filling itself can be made from gold, silver, tooth-colored composites, porcelain, or glass ionomer.
Fillings are used for several different reasons, including broken or cracked teeth, or most commonly for cavities. Cavities, also referred to as tooth decay, are the most commonplace oral condition in the world. It affects nearly 50 percent of the worldwide population. Poor dental hygiene, disease, and unhealthy diets all contribute to cavities.
One common result of a filling is tooth sensitivity. After a filling, many people experience some sort of sensitivity while eating or drinking. This sensitivity is normal and typically resolves itself after a few days or couple weeks. But for some, this sensitivity may last longer. Pain experienced from tooth sensitivity after filling can be very discomforting and prevent you from eating, drinking, or conducting routine hygienic practices.
Minor Causes of Tooth Sensitivity After Filling
As mentioned earlier, discomfort and sensitivity is typical after a filling. Removing decayed material in a tooth requires heavy pressure scrapping and digging in teeth, including pressure on healthy portions of the tooth. Because of this, dentists administer a numbing agent onto the patient to alleviate pain. But when the numbing subsides, the pain comes back.
Many factors can play a role in tooth sensitivity after a filling. Hot and cold sensitivity is a primary symptom, where pain or aches are experienced through eating or drinking overly hot or overly cold foods. Chewing on or around a dental filling can cause discomfort as well. And even changes in air pressure can bring on tooth sensitivity.
Diet plays a role here as well, as eating sugary treats can irritate the tooth and cause discomfort. Foods and beverages that are acidic do the same. But again, this is normal for the first few days or couple weeks after surgery.
Severe Causes of Tooth Sensitivity After Filling
However, if pain and discomfort lasts weeks or even months, there may be something more serious going on. Potential, more severe factors could be at work, including the following:
- High Filling – a high filling, or incorrect bite alignment, occurs when the filling either extends too high in a person’s mouth, or does not line up with other teeth. This can be painful when trying to bite down.
- Allergic Reaction – a body’s reaction to a filling’s composition may lead to tooth sensitivity. If an individual is allergic to something in a filling, they may experience heightened or more frequent bouts of tooth sensitivity.
- Pulpitis – pulpitis is an inflammation that occurs inside the pulp of the filled tooth. This is caused by dental drilling, or in a more serious form, from decayed tooth beiing missed during the surgery and filled over. Very severe pulpitis may require a root canal.
- Irritated Nerve – dental drilling from a filling surpasses the tooth’s protective enamel and cementum layers that surround the tooth’s nerve. This can irritate and inflame the nerve, causing pain and sensitivity.
Effects of Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity can be highly uncomfortable and effect many aspects of a person’s daily life. Eating and drinking certain foods may become too painful to bear. If cold foods bring on sensitivity, you might have to refrain from eating foods like ice cream or cereal. Conversely, soups and other hot foods may incite the pain, forcing you to wait to eat for far longer than you normally would.
Dietary changes like eliminating acidic or carbonated foods like juices or sodas may be potential effects as well.
Routine changes are possible, too. Teeth brushing can become a painful and unwanted endeavor. Doubly so for flossing. And dreams of teeth whitening may be thrown out the window. Fortunately, however, there are teeth whitening kits on the market that are professionally effective and gentle on sensitive teeth.
What to do if Your Tooth is Still Sensitive After Filling?
Luckily, you do not have continue being in pain from tooth sensitivity without any relief, especially if there is nothing serious behind the scenes. If you are experiencing pain and sensitivity, common pain relief practices include:
- Taking anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal pain relievers like ibuprofen
- Topical numbing ointment designed for oral use
- Gently brushing your teeth with a soft bristle brush, using soft circular motions, and delicately flossing using as little force as possible
- Avoiding excessively hot or cold foods
- Reducing foods and drinks with high acidity, or drinking water immediately after consuming