Sensitivity After Placement of a Restoration

Sensitivity after placement of a restoration banner for toothache after fillings.

Cavities most often do not hurt. However, removing a cavity and placing a dental filling may lead to some sensitivity. This is associated with an inflammatory process that is part of healing. Which, is entirely normal. The deeper the original cavity, the higher the chance of developing postoperative sensitivity with any dental filling. In short, a “toothache after fillings” or even a “throbbing tooth pain after fillings,” are both common.

Many times, the gum around the tooth can be a little tender. Particularly, when decay has gone between the teeth, necessitating the use of strips or bands during the procedure. Also, it’s not uncommon for a tooth to be sensitive to cold immediately after a restoration. Especially, the placement of a filling for a cavity that is very deep or large. As long as the pain is brief, and lessens in severity over a few weeks, the tooth should return to normal without any further concern. Throbbing tooth pain after fillings, is nothing to sweat about. While we understand it is uncomfortable, your body simply needs time.

Image of a lady holding her jaw, experiencing a completey normal toothache after fillings and throbbing tooth pain after fillings.

Still wondering about “toothache after fillings” or “throbbing tooth pain after fillings”…Why does this happen?

As a rule, when the pulp of the tooth becomes inflamed, pressure then begins to build up within the pulp cavity. Ultimately, this exerts pressure to the surrounding tissues and on the nerve of the tooth. It is pressure from inflammation that can cause pain to be anywhere from mild to extreme. The amount of pain an individual will experience depends upon the severity of the swelling and inflammation as well as the body’s response to pain. Generally, when we have pressure within other areas of the body, it can diffuse and lessen by moving into the surrounding soft tissue. Unfortunately, this is not the situation with inflammation that occurs in the pulp cavity. Dentin, which is a hard tissue, surrounds the pulp of a tooth.

For this reason, pain (more specifically, pressure) is not allowed to disperse itself amongst other tissues, leading to increased blood flow. This increase in blood flow is a sure sign of inflammation. This will ultimately cause pain. Pulpitis or inflammation of the nerve of a tooth can create such a tremendous amount of pressure on the tooth nerve that an individual will often have trouble locating the actual source of pain. Usually, it can be confused with neighboring teeth. Likewise, this is often called referred pain.

Image of a tooth showing the tooth pulp.

The pulp cavity is a system that is closed off and will undoubtedly provide the body with a challenge, an immune system response challenge to be exact. What this means is that with any disruption, the pulp cavity can make it very difficult for our body to rid itself of any inflammation. Because the system is closed off, our body’s immune system is unable to enter the area to fight and or eliminate any inflammation and swelling. Simply stated, this is why patients can experience a throbbing toothache or even have throbbing tooth pain after fillings.

Patients who have pre-existing inflammatory medical conditions or autoimmune diseases, unfortunately, will have higher levels of inflammatory chemicals found within the blood. After restorative dental work such as a filling, there is inflammation, part of the tooth’s natural healing process. Furthermore, for patients with chronic medical conditions, this additional inflammation can result in more severe pain the “throbbing tooth pain or toothache after fillings.” These same individuals may also experience prolonged post-operative sensitivity.

After having a filling placed, it will take time to adjust to the feel of a new bite (this is how your teeth come together). If and when the bite is changed, it can take several days for the brain to pick up on the new position of your teeth and recognize it as normal.

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Patients who grind their teeth might experience more post-operative sensitivity including aching and even a bruised feeling around the roots of the teeth after dental treatment. Teeth grinding and clenching causes stress to the nerve. If the nerve is already stressed from dental treatment, this added stress from grinding or clenching will increase the inflammation of that nerve. Wearing a nightguard after you complete treatment, will help significantly in reducing the amount of pressure and stress on the nerve and prolong the life of the dental restorations.

If I experience postoperative sensitivity, a “toothache after fillings,” or a “throbbing tooth pain after fillings,” does it mean I may need a root canal?

Not always. On occasion, after the placement of a restoration, a tooth can become non-vital and require root canal treatment. Every time a filling is placed or replaced, there is trauma to the pulp (nerve and blood supply). It can be a combination of many things that will cause this trauma. Generally, trauma  can be caused by drilling, a combination of the toxins released by the bacteria that are responsible for the decay, and or the reaction of the pulp of the tooth to the filling materials. Other factors such as tooth grinding and fracture lines within the teeth can also affect the health of the pulp. Again, any patients with poorly controlled chronic diseases or autoimmune disease are at a much higher risk of developing complications or postoperative sensitivity after dental treatment. Heightened post-operative sensitivity after dental treatment is due to the over-reactive nature of their immune response.

Accumulation and repeated trauma of this nature over time can result in a ‘stressed pulp,’ that is in a chronic state of near-death. As a result, a tooth that was seemingly fine before dental treatment may end up requiring root canal treatment because the pulp of the tooth, which had previously been compromised, is now unable to withstand any additional stress.

Teeth that are currently non-vital (those that no longer have access to nutrients and or blood flow) or are becoming non-vital, generally tend to become sensitive to hot and cold. These same teeth can also become tender to bite. Pain often tends to come on spontaneously and last for long periods. This pain can even be constant and will usually be throbbing in nature. If this occurs, please contact us immediately. Patients with compromised immune function should seek immediate care to avoid further health complications.

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CAQs about a toothache after fillings or a throbbing tooth pain after fillings:

I have a slight toothache after dental work, is it normal?

Completing dental work of any kind on a tooth is essentially a mini surgery on that tooth. Sensitivity is a typical response to the pain experienced by many patients due to the natural process of healing. Every patient is different, and a toothache or sensitivity can last a few days up to a few weeks. So, a “toothache after fillings” for example, is entirely legitimate. This toothache can be helped by alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Do this until the tooth has fully healed.

Young Woman thinking of toothache after fillings and throbbing tooth pain after fillings.

I now have a severe toothache after my recent dental work. My tooth did not hurt before fixing my cavities. Now what?

Any time work, in this case, dental work, is performed on a tooth, the nerve of the tooth becomes irritated and inflamed. While it may seem bizarre, this is an entirely reasonable and natural part of the healing process. As previously discussed, dental work is just like a micro-surgery on a tooth. It is common that after any surgery including dental restorations, patients can expect some tenderness and sensitivity. To help minimize discomfort, take alternating doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Taking either of these medications will help reduce inflammation of the nerve while the tooth is healing. If you find that the discomfort is increasing and it becomes severe and is described as a “throbbing tooth pain after fillings,” patients should always contact their emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE. Be sure to do this as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is a sure sign that the nerve did not heal normally after recent dental work. It is possible a root canal may be needed. If your dentist doesn’t provide emergency services, you can always do an internet search for “emergency dentist near me” to locate a trained professional who may be able to help you.

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How normal is it for my teeth to be sensitive to hot and cold after new fillings?

It is entirely reasonable to have sensitive teeth after recent dental work. Sensitivity is normal. After the dentist places a filling, the nerve becomes irritated. Thus, making the tooth sensitive. Over time, this sensitivity will subside. You can take Tylenol and Ibuprofen to help reduce sensitivity during healing. If you feel that your sensitivity has become worse and it is a for sure a “toothache after fillings,” be sure to look up an “emergency dentist near me” to schedule an appointment. They can provide ideas of how to help manage your pain or get you in if necessary to examine the area. If you are unable to locate an emergency dentist, be sure to schedule an appointment with your primary dentist. He or she can then make sure your tooth is healing correctly. If you are experiencing extreme sensitivity, and it is after hours, please be sure to call an emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE. It is important that you do not wait. It’s possible that they will have suggestions for things that you can try at home or depending upon the situation, they may require that you come in so they can take a closer look.

Happy, smiling female patient after treatment by a Lincoln dentist.

I have extreme sensitivity to biting after recent dental work. Is this normal or common?

Generally speaking, patients are numb while they have dental work done. For this reason, they are unable to bite and normally chew until after the anesthesia wears off. Sometimes this causes the tooth to feel bruised and sore when a patient occludes or bites down. If your bite feels off, this is something that can be adjusted by your Lincoln, NE dentist after the anesthesia has worn off.

Young woman thinking of toothache after fillings or a throbbing tooth pain after fillings, wondering if it is common.

What are things I can I do to ease a persistent toothache after fillings?

You may have experienced a throbbing tooth pain after fillings or your tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures after recent dental work. Sensitive teeth after dental work are normal and are the body’s way of healing itself. The discomfort you are feeling is temporary. It will eventually go away. Until the pain has completely subsided, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers and or use a sensitivity toothpaste to help manage the inflammation. For any patient with a compromised immune system, for example, those who may be in treatment for cancer, often suffer from chronic inflammatory medical conditions or autoimmune diseases. Unfortunately, these patients are more susceptible to heightened post-operative sensitivity symptoms. Therefore, those patients may require more time to heal after treatment. If you feel your discomfort is increasing, you should call your Lincoln, NE dentist for an appointment. They will want to make sure the tooth is healing correctly.

Adult woman thinking of dental care

I just had a filling placed. How long will my tooth hurt afterward or is a “toothache after fillings” or “throbbing tooth pain after fillings” normal?

Because everyone is different, there is no clear cut answer. If the tooth required any form of extensive treatment and had a large, deep cavity, your tooth may be sensitive longer. Extended sensitivity compared to having only minor dental work completed or a small filling placed for example, and having short-lived sensitivity (maybe for a day or two). Of course, the extent of the sensitivity can differ between individuals. A delay in healing time for patients who have chronic inflammatory medical conditions or autoimmune diseases is not uncommon. Therefore, if several months have passed and you feel that your pain has increased, be sure to talk to an emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE. It is possible that the nerve of your tooth did not recover properly and this is something that can happen after treatment. Consequently, you may need a root canal.

Having a “toothache after fillings” or a “throbbing tooth pain after fillings” is no fun. If you read through all of this information and are still feeling frustrated and still have pain, don’t be discouraged! Play it safe, and give your dentist a call. They can at least keep you on their radar. If they feel it has been long enough, and by now the pain should’ve subsided, they can get you scheduled. If you are unsure of where to locate an emergency dentist, do an internet search for “emergency dentist near me.” That will help you narrow down a list of qualified providers. Doing this will ensure you are able to see someone that is conveniently located. But more importantly, a dentist who is willing to see you when you are in pain and need relief!

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