Although temporary, discomfort after getting dental fillings disrupts daily routine. The good news is that there are many strategies that can relieve tooth pain after fillings to make the recovery process easy. Let’s brush up on some basics first and then move on to the pain management techniques.

Reasons You May Need Dental Filling

Tooth fillings are quite a common procedure in the dental world that addresses many problems within the tooth. Some of the common ones are:

  1. Tooth Cavities: Cavities are teeth holes caused by bacterial presence on the enamel. They are areas of decay due to plaque buildup – a sticky film containing bacteria that feeds on sugar and starches left behind from the food you eat.
    When you do not brush, these bacteria multiply, producing more acids that erode tooth enamel, resulting in a cavity. Unfortunately, you cannot leave them unattended as cavities can grow deeper, reaching the dentin layer and causing immense pain. Dentists remove the decayed part of your tooth and fill it with a stronger material like composite resin or amalgam to restore its function.
  2. Cracked or Chipped Teeth: Accidents are inevitable, be it due to roadside injury or because of biting on hard objects – all of which cause cracks or chips in your teeth. Although they may not cause immediate pain, they expose the inner layers of your tooth to bacteria. A filling efficiently repairs the chipped area and protects it from further damage.
  3. Worn Teeth: Teeth wearing down due to grinding or chewing is a given. This exposes the dentin layer, resulting in sensitivity to both hot and cold. Fillings reduce sensitivity and protect teeth from further wear.

What Causes Pain After a Cavity Filling

Here are the top 5 reasons for this:

  1. Nerve Irritation
    There are times when the nerve in the tooth is irritated or hit during the cavity-filling procedure, resulting in tooth pain after filling. Usually, the nerve is well-protected by the outer teeth layers, but the drilling brings the filling material closer to the nerve. Depending on the extent of damage done, this irritation opens gates for mild discomfort to severe pain.
  2. Bite Alignment Issues
    Since filling is done with equipment manually, there are times when your cavity or tooth hole may fill more leading to bite alignment issues. If the filling does not align with your bite, it exerts extra pressure at the time of chewing, leading to discomfort.
  3. Sensitivity to Stimuli
    It is possible for your teeth to become sensitive to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks after a cavity filling. This is usually temporary and manageable. You can relieve tooth pain after filling by using desensitizing toothpaste. However, persistence indicates a more serious issue that requires further dental care.
  4. Pulpitis
    When a cavity is left untreated, it opens a way for the bacteria to reach the tooth’s innermost sensitive structure – the pulp. Pulpitis is a condition when germs successfully infect the deepest layer, resulting in inflammation. There are two kinds of pulpitis: reversible and irreversible. When the pulp is just mildly inflamed but healthy otherwise, you can expect the tooth to heal on its own. On the other hand, pulpitis becomes irreversible when the nerve starts to die, and the only way out is the root canal.
  5. Amalgam Sensitivity
    While the material amalgam is generally considered safe, some may have adverse reactions after its use. Some of the symptoms to look for include itching near the filling site along with pain. If this happens, the only way to relieve yourself from tooth pain is to replace it with a composite filling.

How To Find Relief From Pain After Tooth Filling

It is crucial to relieve yourself from tooth pain after filling to ensure a comfortable recovery phase. Usually, the discomfort is mild and temporary; however, you do not have to suffer. Here are some ways you can find comfort:

  1. Using Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
    Common pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are available over-the-counter and quite effective in reducing tooth pain after filling. You can ask the pharmacist to help you with the dosage of the medications for the discomfort.
  2. Numbing Creams/Ointments
    Numbing ointments or creams are a great source of temporary relief from tooth pain after filling. These ointments numb the area, reducing the sensation of pain.
  3. Cold Compresses
    If the swelling, redness and pain is showing on the outside of your cheeks as well, applying a cold compress can help. Mostly, this method has promising results in the first few hours after the procedure when the pain usually has not reached its peak.
  4. Desensitizing Toothpaste
    A desensitizing toothpaste blocks the pain sensors that respond to heat, cold, and sugar. This hindrance reduces sensitivity and pain after a cavity filling. These toothpastes contain ingredients that reduce the transmission of pain signals to the nerve.
  5. Avoiding Irritants
    Another way of finding relief from tooth pain after filling is to completely avoid irritants like hot, cold, sweet, or acidic items. These substances trigger pain, so steering clear from them is a must.
  6. Brushing and Flossing
    Maintaining good oral hygiene is a must and is non-negotiable. However, practicing the regime in a proper manner is also needed. Gently brushing and flossing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste can maintain oral health and reduce pain. You need to always remember that aggressive brushing, for a long time, does more harm than good.

When To Seek Immediate Help

Although post-filling tooth sensitivity is normal and temporary, there are situations that may compel you to visit your dentist. In situations where your pain is severe, lasts more than two weeks, or has swelling and fever, seek medical help immediately. All of these are signs of a serious infection or allergic reaction.

On the other hand, even constant sensitivity of teeth after a few weeks of the dental filling process should not be ignored. It might serve as an indicator for a deeper issue like a cracked tooth or an abscess that needs further treatment.

Closing Note

In most cases, some low level discomfort is normal and to be expected after getting a cavity filled. Take it as a sign of your tooth healing and adjusting to the new normal. You can easily relieve tooth pain after filling by using desensitizing toothpaste, OTC painkillers, numbing creams, etc. However, if the pain is severe, and stays for more than a week, get in touch with a professional immediately.

We hope that this blog answers your questions. If you have more questions about the tooth fillings we offer, contact Dr. Amjad Sheikh at Trinity Dental Centers, who has more than 20 years of experience in the field. He and his team are just a call away, ready to help you with all your dental needs. Dial (281) 724-4510 to reach us.+

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