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Tooth Filling Pain: What's Making Your Brand New Filling Hurt?

Tooth filling pain is an annoying side effect some experience after a new filling is placed.

Here are a few possible causes and cures for tooth pain after a filling...


  • Sore from the anesthetic It is great to be numb for dental treatment but many times there is a little bit of soreness in the surrounding area from dental anesthetic.   Occasional mild soreness is unavoidable and not a deal breaker for using anesthetic......the good far outweighs the bad.  

  • Large filling or close to the tooth nerve. Having a filling placed can traumatize or aggrevate the nerve of your tooth.  Most often your tooth can recover from the trauma of having a filling placed.  Time may be all it needs to improve.  Quite often tooth filling pain happens because the filling is slightly too big or "high" to bite on.   A slight and painless adjustment is all these fillings need.

Cold foods or liquids are usually what make new fillings hurt.

Most sensitive fillings improve in a week or two and others take several months.

Since, the next step is usually a root canal, most prefer to wait for mildly sensitive teeth to improve.

If your sensitivity worsens or does not gradually improve,  call your dentist.

Mild vs Severe pain...

How do you know the difference?

Sensitivity occurs when the tooth reacts or over reacts to cold, hot, sugar, or pressure from chewing.

You get a little...or not so little, zing or ache.

After a few seconds it gets better and feels just fine.

Severe tooth filling pain may start the same as tooth sensitivity...something makes your tooth hurt.

The difference is, it doesn't recover very quickly or at all.

Another difference...it can come on spontaneously...for no reason.

Tooth pain that wakes you up at night falls into this category and should be evaluated by your dentist.

Tooth pain that requires constant pain medication also should be evaluated.

One cure

Some tooth filling pain is very easy to fix. Because your teeth fit so precisely, a filling that is ever so slightly too big or too small can cause tooth pain after a filling.

Size matters when it comes to fillings

After your dentist finishes your filling he/she will ask your to close together and check the bite and ask: "How does it feel?"

Too big...

Being numb and wanting to get out of the dental chair can make some clients say fine when it really is not fine. A filling that is high or too big can make The "bite" so slightly off that even when you are not numb you don't notice.

A filling that is too high takes too much biting force and stays sensitive.

No worries…a quick, painless check and adjustment by your dentist will make it right and let your annoyed tooth nerve get back to normal.

Too small...

Fillings can also be too small. If you find yourself with a gap between your teeth that feels like the grand canyon and is a magnet for any food that passes by, your new filling is likely too small.

Fillings that leave a gap or an open contact are unhealthy for your teeth and gums and should be redone.

Just right...

Don't hesitate to ask if your filling doesn't feel quite right. It is easy to check and your dentist wants it to feel good.

Some types of dental fillings can be repaired and others have to be redone. Most just need a slight adjustment. Dental filling materials and techniques have improved making complications less common.

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