While tooth fillings can help to restore teeth that have been affected by cavities or decay, they can sometimes cause temporary pain or discomfort. The pain you may experience can vary in intensity and duration depending on several factors.
We highlight some common causes of tooth pain that arise from getting a filling and share some useful tips to help you manage it. We’ve also included some prevention tips to help you minimize the pain.
Table of Contents
Here are some of the possible causes that can trigger this type of pain.
Although rare, there’s a chance you may be allergic to certain types of tooth filling, such as amalgam. Amalgam fillings consist of a mixture of metals that includes mercury, zinc and silver. People who are more sensitive to these components may experience tooth irritation or inflammation after their treatment.
If you have a metal allergy, inform your dentist prior to getting any dental treatment. They can take necessary precautions and recommend alternative materials that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions.
Bite adjustment issues
Bite adjustment issues can occur after a dental filling. If the filling is higher than the surrounding teeth or uneven, it can cause pain when you bite down. This misalignment can cause excessive pressure on the filled tooth, leading to pain and discomfort.
The dental filling procedure involves removing decayed or damaged tooth structure. This process can irritate the nerves in your tooth, causing you to feel temporary pain. The sensitivity may be more pronounced if the decay is closer and deeper to the nerves.
Some of your tooth structure needs to be removed in order to place the filling. This can potentially expose the underlying dentin. When your dentin is exposed, the stimuli from hot or cold substances can reach the nerves more easily, resulting in tooth pain.
Decay or infection
A filling may be required due to tooth decay or an existing infection. If the decay was extensive, it may take some time for the tooth to fully heal. In such cases, you may experience some residual pain or discomfort after the filling.
How Long Should a Tooth Hurt After a Filling
It’s normal to experience some mild ache or discomfort right after getting a filling. The pain should subside within 2 to 4 weeks after the procedure.
However, if you continue to experience pain beyond this timeframe, it’s time to visit your dentist. They can conduct a thorough examination to identify any underlying issues and advise you on the appropriate treatment.
Tips for Relieve Tooth Pain After a Filling
These tips can help you better manage post-filling tooth pain but if the pain is severe or unbearable, you should seek advice from your dentist.
1. Maintaining good oral hygiene
Good oral hygiene helps to remove plaque and bacteria which could cause infection and worsen the pain. Brush and floss your teeth regularly with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Also, avoid applying excessive pressure when you’re cleaning the area around the filled tooth to reduce any unnecessary irritation.
2. Rinsing with warm saltwater
Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater several times a day. This natural remedy can reduce inflammation, soothe your gums and alleviate tooth pain.
3. Use a cold compress
Apply a cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to the outside of your cheek near the affected tooth. This can reduce the pain and numb the area temporarily.
4. Use a desensitizing toothpaste
Desensitizing toothpaste contains compounds like potassium nitrate that can help to alleviate tooth sensitivity. Take note that it usually takes several applications for the sensitivity to decrease noticeably.
5. Use Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers
OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be effective in managing tooth pain after a filling. Before taking this medication, it’s important to consult with your dentist or healthcare professional to ensure it’s safe for you and won’t interact with any other medications you may be taking.
6. Return to the dentist
Your dentist can apply desensitizing agents directly to the affected tooth, providing you with immediate and effective relief. Fluoride varnishes or gels are commonly used desensitizing agents. These agents help alleviate sensitivity and strengthen tooth enamel.
By returning to the dentist and following their guidance, you can effectively address any lingering tooth pain and maintain a comfortable and healthy oral environment.
Prevention Tips to Minimize the Pain
Here are some steps you can take to minimize the pain you may experience after getting a filling.
1. Avoiding hard and sticky foods
Avoid biting or chewing on hard foods such as ice, hard candies, nuts and popcorn kernels. Opt for softer foods that are easier to chew and won’t exert excessive pressure on the filled tooth.
You should also avoid chewing on the treated tooth and on the side of your mouth where the filling was placed. This helps to prevent further irritation and discomfort.
2. Avoid foods that are extremely hot or cold
A tooth that has just received a filling is often sensitive to temperature changes. Foods that are too hot or cold can trigger this sensitivity. Hence, you should opt for foods and drinks at moderate temperatures to prevent discomfort after your treatment.
3. Follow post-filling instructions
Follow the post-filling care instructions provided by your dentist. They may recommend gentle brushing and flossing techniques, as well as using a fluoride mouthwash to help prevent infection and promote your overall oral health.
It’s also important to attend any follow-up appointments scheduled by your dentist. They can evaluate how your tooth is healing and address any complications early.
Let A Professional Dentist Help You
If the pain persists or worsens, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. They will examine the filled tooth and surrounding area to determine the cause of the pain. This allows for early detection of any potential issues or underlying problems.
Remember that these tips are general recommendations. It’s essential to consult your dentist for personalized advice and guidance based on your specific situation. They can provide appropriate recommendations to manage your post-filling tooth pain effectively.