Tooth Sensitivity After Filling

Fillings are one of the most common dental procedures that are done in dental offices across the United States. Commonly required to treat children and adults alike, fillings are used to not only fill cavities but also to remedy broken or chipped teeth. Temporary or permanent, the fillings that dentists provide serve two main purposes: to treat and prevent further decay. At the same time, fillings typically provide some degree of pain relief, as well, as exposing a damaged or decayed tooth to air, water, and food can cause discomfort.

Steps in Filling a Tooth

Before filling a tooth for you or your child, your dentist will use a numbing agent. This is normally applied via insertion with a needle, which can be disconcerting for both children and adults. It can be helpful to have games or toys on hand to distract children from this task.

Once the area is numbed, the decayed or damaged part of the tooth is removed with a dental drill. This is not a painful procedure, but it can be loud; it might be helpful for children who are easily stressed by loud noises to wear noise-cancelling headphones.

Finally, the filling itself – usually a dental composite, metal amalgam, or porcelain – is applied and shaped, and then hardened with a special ultraviolet light.

Understanding and Treating Tooth Sensitivity Following a Filling

Because fillings include drilling and other manipulation of the teeth, it is natural and normal for them to feel a little sore in the days following a filling. Typically, this soreness is simply increased sensitivity. If you or your child is experiencing tooth sensitivity after a filling, you might consider using a special toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth for a few days. Desensitizing toothpastes can be purchased over the counter at drug stores and groceries and can help lessen the sensitivity that is felt following a filling or other dental procedure. These toothpastes can be used two times a day for as long as needed.

Furthermore, it is best to avoid especially hot or cold foods and beverages during this time. Extreme temperatures can exacerbate tooth sensitivity a great deal. This increased sensitivity should gradually dissipate.

Finally, you’ll want to be mindful of the kinds of foods you are eating and serving following a dental filling. As teeth can be a bit sore, you’ll want to forego any foods that are especially hard/crunchy, tough, or chewy. Soft, easy to chew foods are best during the days following a dental filling; if eating is still bothersome, you can try limiting your chewing to one side of the mouth to put less stress on the affected area.

Other Considerations

While tooth sensitivity is normal in the days following a dental procedure like a filling, it is not expected that you should experience any sharp pain, bleeding, swelling, or pus/discharge. If you or your child develop any of these symptoms, which could be signs of an infection, it is important to contact your dentist right away for an examination.

Types of Tooth Fillings

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