Pain After A Dental Filling

3 April 2017
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


When your dentist told you that you had a cavity, you dutifully made an appointment for a filling. Now that the anesthetic has worn off, however, you're experiencing pain in the area. What is going on? Why would you be having discomfort after having a cavity treated? There are a few possibilities, and going back to your dentist will allow him or her to evaluate the situation and treat your pain. Read on to find out what might cause discomfort or pain after a dental filling.

Gum Irritation From the Dental Instruments

It can be difficult to localize exactly where the pain is coming from, particularly as anesthetic is wearing off and you're feeling nervous about it getting worse as time progresses. Sometimes a patient thinks that they're having tooth pain when it's actually coming from the gums.

When you have a filling done, a metal band is wrapped around the tooth and small wooden wedges are pushed between the tooth being worked on and the adjacent tooth or teeth. This is done so the filling material stays on the tooth that's being worked on and does not get into the space between the teeth or under the gum line. As a result, your gums in that area might be irritated for a day or two after the filling.

This is not a problem unless the pain is severe, which would be uncommon. If you can safely take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, do that to relieve the discomfort. Warm salt-water rinses can also help reduce minor swelling and promote healing. If the irritation persists more than a couple of days, call your dentist.

A High Filling That You're Hitting

When you close your mouth, your teeth should fit together like puzzle pieces. No one area should touch before the other areas. When you have a filling done, however, that perfect fit can be disrupted, and you might be biting down on the new filling before the rest of your teeth come together. While this is not a problem if you do it once or twice or a dozen times, over the course of an hour or a day, the tooth can become quite painful.

If you have a resin (tooth-colored) filling, it will not wear down over time like an amalgam (silver) filling will. This means that you'll need to go back to the dentist so he or she can smooth out the filling and make it fit better with the opposing tooth or teeth. It should take only a couple minutes, and you will not need any anesthetic. This should have your tooth feeling better quickly.

A Deep Filling Causing Nerve Pain

If your dentist found that the filling was deeper than they thought it would be, they might have mentioned to you that they were getting close to the nerve space. The closer the decay and the filling is to the nerve, the more likely it is that you will be sore and uncomfortable afterward. The nerve will need some time to settle down after being irritated.

In some cases, the pain will go away in a few days, and everything will be fine. In others, it will continue to get worse over the next several days. If this happens, you might need root canal treatment. This means that the dentist will remove the irritated nerve and fill the nerve space with an antibacterial filling that will relieve your pain and prevent infection.

If you are having pain after a dental filling, give your dentist a call promptly so he or she can best advise you based on your specific circumstances. Contact a dental office like Milner Dentistry to learn more.