Why Do I Have Tooth Pain After a Filling?
Good Question!

Tooth pain after a filling is placed happens for a few reasons.

Most often it can be easily resolved.

This question from Kristen in Cincinnati shows how frustrating it can be when a tooth that never hurt before becomes sensitive after having dental work. 

More about problems with fillings here.

Kristen's question

Hello, I had 4 deep (white) fillings done back in June and haven't been able to chew any hard food since. Not just crispy bacon, but I can't chew any raw vegetables, no hard bread, pretty much anything that has even the slightest crunch to it. 

The fillings are on the second to last molar on each side (bottom and top) so the same location. I had other fillings done on some of the teeth closer to the front at the same time, but I don't have any sensitivity there. 

It's just these 4 back teeth bottom and top.

I've had the fillings shaved down, two of them were a bit high. I went back to the same dentist 6 months later (after using sensodyne for 6 months) because I still couldn't chew. 

They took xrays, and the teeth looked fine, no infections or anything. They also tested my bite and had me chew on a stick to see what areas hurt, and nothing. 

He did say that I had some grooves in my teeth that could be the issue. But I could chew anything before I had the fillings and those same grooves were there then too. 

I just don't understand what the problem is. He didn't have a solution for me. This is a huge problem, I can't eat vegetables and I'm only 26 yrs old. Do you have any other thoughts on what my next step could be or am I just out of luck? 


My reply

Hi Kristen, Sorry to hear about your fillings..that really stinks! But you are definitely not out of luck!

Fillings are sensitive for a few reasons...

  • The filling is too high and needs to be adjusted.

  • The filling is deep and close to the nerve. These fillings can take a very long time to recover. Some never recover and eventually need a root canal.

  • The tooth is cracked and needs a crown

It sounds like your dentist did all the right things...took an X Ray to check for an abscess, adjusted the size so it is not too high and checked for a crack in the tooth by having you bite on a crack finder (the stick).

Grooves in your teeth should not cause sensitivity to chewing hard foods.

I know 6 months seems like a long time but some teeth take a very long time to quit being sensitive after a filling. It is too bad that you had all four molars done at once and that all four of them got sensitive. That makes it really hard to avoid using them.

Sometimes it take more than one bite adjustment.  I would have that checked again.  A filling that is even very slightly high (too big)  will stay sensitive.

Or it may just take more time.  

Since the next step for teeth that don't recover from a deep filling is having a root canal and crown, most decide to wait for the sensitivity to slowly but surely improve on it's own.

If you are noticing gradual improvement, that is a good sign. If the sensitivity is increasing in frequency or severity,  you should talk to your dentist about further treatment.

For your peace of mind, a second opinion wouldn't hurt to be sure the fillings are good and there are no obvious problems.

Sensodyne toothpaste will not help with sensitivity due to fillings. It does help teeth that are sensitive due to a receding gum line.

You can read more about the causes of tooth filling pain here.

Thanks for writing and hang in there it will get better:)

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