Lots of patients want to know “do dental fillings hurt”, before they go ahead with treatment. In the majority of circumstances, most people find the discomfort associated with dental fillings to be mild and easy to manage, and most patients do not require any medication or pain relief. At the same time, however, it is also important to know when it’s time to contact your dentist for help.
What Are Dental Fillings And Why Do We Need Them?
Tooth fillings are performed to help save a tooth and restore it to full function. A dental filling procedure involves the removal of the dead or decaying tooth before your dentist cleans the area and fills it with filling material.
Having a dental filling protects your tooth against further tooth decay, and ultimately against losing the tooth. It also protects you against future pain and discomfort. If you are experiencing toothache or tooth sensitivity because your cavity is deep, or close to the tooth nerve, this pain will only get worse if it isn’t treated.
On a general note: having your tooth fillings earlier rather than later, is more manageable in terms of pain threshold. A deep cavity and filling procedure are likely to be more uncomfortable than filling a superficial cavity.
Do Dental Fillings Hurt?
Before getting to work, your dentist will apply local anaesthetic to the area to be worked on. This is usually administered by injection and will ensure your soft tissue is numb to the tough. Before getting to work, your dentist will test that you can’t feel anything other than a slight bit of pressure.
Your dentist will use a special drill to remove any debris and bacteria from the infected part of your tooth. Afterwards the space will be filled with your choice of filling material. The most commonly used materials include gold, silver and composite resin.
How Will You Feel After The Procedure?
It will take some time for the anaesthetic to wear off, and while this happens you might experience some new sensations. These include feeling itchy, puffy, or numb. You will probably find it difficult to speak, swallow, eat or move your face during this period.
For this reason your dentist will also recommend that you don’t eat or drink while this is happening, because you do run the risk of biting the inside of your cheek for a few hours after your tooth filling.
In the majority of cases, patients feel better after a filling.
Any toothache or discomfort should subside once the infected matter is removed and the cavity is filled.
Tooth Sensitivity After A Filling
Some patients do experience heightened tooth sensitivity after a filling. You may find that there are certain triggers that can cause sensitivity, an intense sensation that comes on quickly and then fades away.
Some of the triggers include
- Hot beverages like tea, coffee and soup
- Cold beverages and foods like ice, ice cream or iced drinks
- Cold air hitting your tooth
- Hard or sweet food like sweets, candy and chocolate
In most cases tooth sensitivity after tooth fillings is temporary and goes away on its own, in time. Short term sensitivity is often caused because the original cavity or dental filling procedure caused irritation to your nerve.
Your tooth has a dental nerve inside it, which is typically protected by the outer layers of your tooth. When an infection – or the filling required to treat it- gets very close to that nerve, it can cause irritation. Using toothpaste for sensitive teeth may give you temporary relief.
In other instances, the discomfort may be caused because of a misaligned bite. When your dentist shapes the filling material, it must correspond with the tooth above or below it, to give you a comfortable bite. You can usually feel this by the time your anaesthetic has worn off, but it may only be noticeable in the first few days after your filling is done.
Your dentist will explain this to you, and invite you to return for an adjustment if your bite is not comfortable.
When Should You Call Your Dentist?
If you experience worsening pain, a fever, or inflammation at any stage after your tooth fillings, you should have it inspected by your dentist. If your tooth sensitivity does not improve in the month after your filling, ask your dentist for help.
Don’t let the worry of pain stop you from getting a dental filling. Remember: early intervention is important to stop the spread of infection.
Please get in touch with us for a convenient appointment: (02) 8203 8760.