Tooth Sensitivity After Filling

Fillings can make for a tough situation with little ones and adults alike. Fear of drills, needles, and dental procedures in general can make for a fraught state of affairs upon learning that a cavity requires a filling. Likewise, the heightened sensitivity following a filling can provide concern for those who might be particularly anxious or sensitive. There are, however, a number of steps that can be taken to ease the worry and the discomfort that often follows a filling.


Understanding the Procedure


Most of the anxiety that surrounds dental procedures stems from simply not understanding what will happen during the procedure itself. People’s imaginations, perhaps not surprisingly, usually tend towards extreme positive or negative scenarios, and the dentist’s chair is often surrounded with overly negative thoughts. Knowledge of what exactly to expect during a procedure can be calming and empowering, so if you or your child has worries about what it will be like to get a filling, it can be helpful to get some concrete information rather than letting your imagination run wild.


During the filling of a cavity, dentists use local anesthetics to numb any pain that might otherwise be felt during the procedure. While this doesn’t mean that no pressure will be felt, the filling of a cavity is not a painful procedure, not just because of the anesthetic but because in most cases the nerves are not directly affected. In fact, the filling of a cavity will actually resolve the pain that may have been felt as a result of the cavity itself (though there may be some heightened sensitivity in the days immediately following the procedure).


After administering the anesthetic, your dentist will then remove any decayed matter and simply fill the hole or cavity that is left with a specially formulated dental filling. In many cases, fillings today can even be made to custom fit the color and shade of your teeth!


That’s all there is to it. Anesthetize, clean, fill. It doesn’t take long, either – fillings can be done is as little as ten minutes, though more complicated cases (or those that require more time to accommodate the unique needs and anxieties of children) can take up to an hour.


Treating Tooth Sensitivity Following the Procedure


While fillings themselves are not painful procedures, patients can experience some soreness and sensitivity following the procedure. This is due to the manipulation of tissues and the irritation that this can cause. There are things that you can do, however, to help alleviate this discomfort for you or your child.


Brushing gently with a soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrush is one simple way to ease irritation and heightened sensitivity following a filling. Using a desensitizing toothpaste can also help reduce sensitivity, especially when used regularly. Additionally, avoiding especially hot or cold foods or beverages can also help fend off further sensitivity, as extreme temperatures can be jarring following a procedure of this kind. If you or your child starts to experience sudden or sharp pain or has excessive swelling around the gums, you should notify your dentist. Usually, though, teeth and gums are just a little sensitive in the days and weeks following a filling. This should resolve within a few short weeks.


Different Types of Dental Fillings