When you go to your dentist, you may already feel some pain or discomfort concerning your teeth and gums. You expect that dental procedures will give you relief. So, it may sound justified if you feel wronged when your dentist did a procedure to repair the tooth cavities, but you still feel the pain. What’s worse is the idea that you were not feeling any discomfort before, but you suddenly experience tooth pain after cavity filling.
Is tooth pain after cavity filling treated as normal? Should we expect tooth sensitivity before and after a dental procedure? What corrective dental treatments cause tooth sensitivity post-procedure? Let’s answer these questions and understand how tooth problems get resolved.
Cavities, Tooth Decay, Dental Caries
Are you wondering what the difference between cavities, tooth decay, and dental caries is? The truth is, these terms mean the same thing. These terms mean that bad bacteria living inside your mouth have been attacking your teeth and gums, causing damage to your tooth enamel. As the dental injury progresses, it digs deep into your tooth, reaching the pulp where the nerves and blood vessels are, causing you pain and tooth sensitivity.
However, we have to understand that cavities, throughout their early stage, do not cause pain. They would start as a white spot looking like a stain or discoloration. They would only make their existence be felt when they get inside the tooth. Once the bacteria reach the nerves, they act as pain receptors that transmit impulses to the brain to feel discomfort, and tooth sensitivity sets in. This is the very reason why dentists recommend regular consultation so they can monitor any dental issue and prevent any untoward dental ache.
Tooth Pain After Cavity Filling: Is It True?
We now understand that advanced tooth decay can cause tooth sensitivity, so dentists recommend having them cleaned and filled. The procedure entails your tooth be thoroughly cleaned and inspected. Once free from any decayed areas, the dentist then fills the void and seals it with amalgam, metal, or composite resin fillings. This procedure promises efficiency in preventing further tooth decay and the spread of the bacteria to other parts f the teeth, even to the blood vessels that may spread the infection to other parts of the body.
But, is it true that when you get rid of a cavity and place a dental filling, this corrective procedure may lead to some sensitivity? The answer is yes; you may feel tooth pain after cavity filling. Your dentist may explain that even before the treatment starts, so you would know what to expect during and after your treatment session.
Why is There Tooth Pain After Cavity Filling?
Let us explain what happens during and after the dental filling. When your dentist explores the state of your teeth, you may think that the damage may only be superficial since you do not feel any pain or tooth sensitivity. However, when cleaning and debridement, your dentist may find out that the damage created looks far from minor, so he would remove more tooth surfaces in preparation for the sealing.
This process may relate to the inflammatory process as part of the recovery. Remember when you or a family member underwent a surgical operation and experiences some swelling, pain, and tenderness post-op? The same goes with dental procedures, like dental fillings.
Your dentist may note that if you have a deeper or more advanced cavity, there would be a higher risk of having post-procedural tooth sensitivity. So, to answer your question, simply put, the terms or complaints of having “tooth pain after cavity filling” or even a “throbbing tooth sensitivity after fillings” are all valid, expected, and true.
Tooth Pain After Cavity Filling: What to expect
If tooth sensitivity needs to be foreseen, how bad would it feel like and for how long?
The answer to that would depend on the extent of damage your tooth has. For first-stage tooth decay, where the damage only reached the tooth surface or enamel, you should not expect any tooth sensitivity. Second to fourth stages, however, where the bacteria reached the inner parts of the teeth, you may anticipate some tenderness around the area during the first few days post-treatment.
Come to think of it; you already experienced discomfort while enduring the presence of a damaged tooth. You do not expect that the procedure would miraculously make the hurt disappear.
Gum swelling or discomfort. Maybe the gums surrounding the tooth became a little tender. For the most part, if the bacteria caused tooth decay between the teeth, your dentist may have used dental instruments like strips or bands to clear the damage out in between these tight gaps and spaces. This may irritate and make the gums swell after the dental filling procedure.
Placement of tooth filling. We mentioned earlier that tooth decay present deep in the teeth might resort to having dental fillings placed deep as well. This may cause tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold temperatures. Treat this as a normal post-procedural effect for the first few days to a week. Just give your teeth time to recover.
Tooth Pain After Cavity Filling: What Should I Do?
If the discomfort happened immediately or a few days after your procedure, do not panic; this is normal. Consider this as a typical side effect that could be part of your tooth’s recovery. Yes, it may feel annoying, irritating, and somehow frustrating, so you can treat it symptomatically.
- Are you in pain? You can take NSAIDs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Avoid consuming cold or hot food and beverages so triggering of the tooth sensitivity may lessen.
- Use a numbing gel around the area to alleviate pain.
- Brush and floss every time with extra care. Use regular toothpaste in the meantime since whitening types may cause more harm and sensitivity.
- If possible, avoid drinking teas and coffees. But if not, just make sure that you rinse your mouth with water as soon as you finish drinking them. This is so you can get rid of the acids that they may stimulate, which can harm the tooth enamel.
What Dental Procedures Can Cause Tooth Pain Or Sensitivity?
We have mentioned that every dental procedure has its corresponding side effect; tenderness, tooth sensitivity, even pain. Because your dentist manipulates the tooth and tissues surrounding it, like your gums and, yes, bones, doing so may trigger these discomforts.
Root Canal Therapy
If the damage or tooth decay reaches the pulp, where the blood vessels and nerves are located, you can expect that tooth sensitivity and pain would arise. Your dentist may recommend root canal therapy that clears out the insides of your tooth to save the crown.
The procedure requires the removal of your tooth pulp, including the nerves and blood vessels. He may also need to sever the connection of the tooth roots to prevent the spreading of the bacteria as well as further discomfort. He then fills the void with sealant after putting bactericide. After the procedure, your dentist may prescribe antibiotic medication to make sure that the spread of infection stops. He can also prescribe pain relievers as tooth sensitivity may be expected post-op.
Do you have overcrowded teeth? You may know one or two in your social circle who have worn (or are still wearing) braces or clear aligners. We know that these are examples of orthodontic procedures to correct the alignment of the teeth. However, not many of us realize that tooth sensitivity can be present during the procedure.
Think this through – you are forcing your teeth to move to their proper position when they already reserved a space in your mouth and they are being anchored into your bones. Of course, your mouth would feel sore throughout the process! When faced with this challenge during your teeth alignment correction procedure, the best thing to do would be to avoid hard or chewy foods, maintain proper dental hygiene, and follow all your dentist’s recommendations.
We hope that we helped you shed some light when it comes to feeling sensitive and uncomfortable days after your dental procedure. Just remember that you should feel the pain minimizing as time passes. If the pain or tooth sensitivity intensifies, you should book an appointment with your dentist to make sure that no further damage has occurred. This may also conclude the reason why you’re feeling the pain in the first place.
Wyatt, A.(July 2020).Problems With Dental Fillings
Berry, J. (January 2019). Why does my tooth still hurt after a filling?
Higuera, V. (March 2019). How to Handle Sensitive Teeth After a Filling
Tooth Pain and Sensitivity Before or After Filling Cavities
Tooth Pain After A Filling: Is It Normal?
Root Canals: FAQs About Treatment That Can Save Your Tooth