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Tooth sensitivity after dental treatment is very common, but nonetheless irritating. Why would a tooth hurt after it has just been restored? Has something gone wrong? What do I do? These are common questions with simple and complex answers.

Why would a tooth hurt after a filling?
After the completion of a filling, teeth may be hot, cold, or pressure sensitive, which is completely normal and known as pulpitis. Anytime a tooth undergoes the trauma of being drilled and restored, the nerve can become agitated and produce sensitivity that can last for days to weeks. The risk of sensitivity is even greater if the decay in the tooth was deep and close to the nerve. If your tooth is sensitive, give us a call. Your nerve may need greater time to calm down, or the tooth may need to be adjusted.

Has something gone wrong; I’ve been told I may need a root canal?
Nerve pain that produces sensitivity to pressure and temperature is normal after a filling and though many don’t experience discomfort after a filling, others do.  Sometimes, when the decay is too close to the nerve, a root canal may be necessary to restore the tooth. This does not indicate that a filling was performed improperly. Think of a filling as step one in restoring a tooth. If a filling is not able to restore a tooth sufficiently, a proceeding root canal and crown placement may be necessary. Fillings are more cost effective than root canals and crowns, and a dentist may attempt to save a tooth with a less invasive and more cost effective filling prior to performing more costly treatment.

My tooth is sensitive; what do I do?
Any time you have sensitivity, call us. We’ll ask you about your sensitivity and make recommendations that may help. Anti-inflammatory medication can be used, when appropriate, to help the nerve calm down, and adjustments on the tooth may help. After a filling is placed, the biting structure of the tooth is changed and further adjustments may be necessary to help alleviate pressure. Pain that keeps you up at night should not be ignored. Sometimes a tooth just needs time to heal. We can walk you through this process.

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