Why Does My Tooth Hurt After a Filling?

Tooth sensitivity after dental treatment is very common, but nonetheless irritating. Why would a tooth hurt after it has just been restored? Has something gone wrong? What do I do? These are common questions with simple and complex answers.

Has something gone wrong; I’ve been told I may need a root canal?
Nerve pain that produces sensitivity to pressure and temperature is normal after a filling, and though many don’t experience discomfort after a filling, others do. Sometimes, when the decay is too close to the nerve, a root canal may be necessary to restore the tooth. This does not indicate that a filling was performed improperly. Think of filling as step one in restoring a tooth. If a filling is not able to restore a tooth sufficiently, a proceeding root canal and crown placement may be necessary. Fillings are more cost effective than root canals and crowns, and a dentist may attempt to save a tooth with a less invasive and more cost effective filling before performing a costlier treatment.

My tooth is sensitive; what do I do?
A tooth may be sensitive to pressure, air, sweet foods, or temperature. Usually, the sensitivity resolves on its own within a few weeks. During this time, avoid those things that are causing the sensitivity. Contact us if the sensitivity does not subside within two to four weeks or if your tooth is extremely sensitive. We may recommend you use a desensitizing toothpaste, may apply a desensitizing agent to the tooth, or possibly suggest a root canal procedure. Anti-inflammatory medication can be used, when appropriate, to help the nerve calm down, and adjustments on the tooth may help. After a filling is placed, the biting structure of the tooth is changed, and further adjustments may be necessary to help alleviate pressure. Pain that keeps you up at night should not be ignored. Sometimes a tooth just needs time to heal. We can walk you through this process.

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