What Are Dental Fillings?
Dental or tooth fillings are performed as part of restorative dentistry when you have a cavity in your mouth. Before you can have dental fillings your dentist needs to remove all the infected material for your tooth, before closing the cavity up with a filling. The filling will restore your tooth’s bite function so you can chew your food with comfort. Tooth fillings can be made from amalgam (silver), tooth coloured resin, porcelain, gold and glass.
If the size of your cavity is too large for a dental filling, your dentist may recommend a dental crown or cap, which will be fitted over your existing tooth, to strengthen and reinforce it.
So, Do Dental Fillings Hurt?
It may very well have been unbearable pain that sent you to the dentist in the first place, in search of help. And for that reason, it is quite understandable if you are very sensitive to pain. What’s important to remember though is the purpose of dental fillings is to remove all active infection that causes pain and restore your tooth. Once your filling is done you should not feel pain anymore.
What To Expect During The Procedure
Before you can have tooth fillings your dentist will take an x-ray of your mouth to see how far the decay goes. If your tooth pulp has become infected, you may need a root canal treatment to save your tooth.
Before your dentist starts working on dental fillings, the gums around the cavity will be injected with a local anaesthetic. This is to ensure you do not feel any pain on a tooth that is already sensitive. You might experience some pressure and be aware of the dentist’s drill cleaning out the decayed matter, but you should not feel pain.
Will Tooth Fillings Hurt After The Procedure?
A few hours after your anaesthetic has worn off, the sensation will return to your mouth and you may feel some discomfort. This is more likely to happen if your decay was deep and the nerves were irritated either because of the infection or even because the dentist’s drill got very close to the tooth nerve.
The majority of patients report that any discomfort after dental fillings is mild and manageable with over the counter medication. If you are very concerned about pain you can speak to your dentist ahead of your procedure about stronger pain medication.
It may happen that you experience pain when biting down after your anesthetic has worn off. This could be because your tooth fillings have been built up a bit too high and need to be adjusted to fit your mouth better. Your dentist will tell you to return to the practice for an adjustment if this is the case.
Any new pain or worsening pain should also be reported to your dentist as soon as possible. Sensitivity and discomfort should improve, not get worse in the days following tooth fillings. Any new pain could be a sign of an infection and should be reported to your dentist.
What About Tooth Sensitivity After A Filling?
Sometimes patients report tooth sensitivity for a week or two following their restoration. In general, this will go away on its own after about two weeks but if it gets worse or doesn’t improve you should discuss it with your dentist.
If you have had composite resin tooth fillings, some shrinkage can occur, which can result in a space opening up between the filling and your tooth. This could expose the nerve or allow debris to access the tooth, causing pain or sensitivity. Your dentist will need to adjust or redo your filling if this is the case.
The fear of pain from dental fillings should not interfere with your dental treatment. Dental decay does not improve on its own and an untreated infection can threaten your surrounding teeth, gums and soft tissue, resulting in tooth loss and gum disease over time.
If you have a fear of pain or extreme dental anxiety, you should discuss your options with your dentist, who may recommend you have a general anaesthetic or consider sedation dentistry. While we all want teeth that last a lifetime and may do our best to brush and floss regularly, cavities can occur. Remember that the earlier you seek help, the smaller the cavity will be and the less discomfort and inconvenience you will experience.
If you are worried about “do dental fillings hurt”, please contact us for assistance: (02) 9158 6211.