After a Filling
Many people feel some sensitivity after they receive a filling. The tooth may be sensitive to pressure, air, sweet foods, heat or cold. Composite fillings often cause sensitivity, but other types of filling materials can, too.
In most cases, the sensitivity will subside over one to two weeks. Until then, try to avoid anything that causes it. If your tooth is extremely sensitive or your sensitivity does not decrease after two weeks, contact your dentist's office.
It's important to let your dentist know about any sensitivity you are feeling. The next time you need a filling, he or she may be able to use a different material and make changes to reduce sensitivity. People vary in their response to different materials. Your dentist has no way of predicting if your tooth will react to a particular material.
When you talk to your dentist about the sensitivity, try to describe it as precisely as possible. This information will help decide what should be done next. Your dentist may take out the filling and put in a new one. He or she may add a base, liner or desensitizing agent on the tooth as well. If the filling was very deep, you could need a root canal treatment to solve the problem.
Besides sensitivity, some people feel discomfort when they bite down. There are two types of pain, each with a different cause.
- The first type occurs when you bite, and worsens over time. This is caused by a filling that interferes with your bite. Once your anesthetic wears off, you would notice this right away. Contact your dentist. You will need to return to the office to have the filling reshaped.
- The second type of discomfort is a very sharp shock that appears only when your teeth touch. This is called galvanic shock. It is caused by two metals (one in the newly filled tooth and one in the tooth it's touching) producing an electric current in your mouth. This would happen, for example, if you had a new amalgam filling in a bottom tooth and had a gold crown in the tooth above it.
Your dentist polishes the filling after it is placed, but occasionally sharp edges may remain. If you find one, contact your dentist and arrange to have it smoothed as soon as possible to avoid injury to your tongue or mouth.