Post Filling Toothaches: Why Do They Happen and What Can You Do?

Post Filling Toothaches: Why Do They Happen and What Can You Do?

Jun 09, 2015

Most of us have been there: you find out you have a cavity and have to get a filling. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92 percent of adults between 20 and 64 “have had dental caries in their permanent teeth” and 26 percent “have untreated decay.” Removing the diseased portion of the tooth and placing a restoration in it should relieve your toothache, but in some cases, getting a filling can actually lead to oral discomfort. Dr. Craig Armstrong and our Houston dental team are committed to educating patients about their teeth and helping them enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles. In the following blog, we explain the regrettable phenomenon of post-filling toothaches and discuss what you can do to avoid them.

Symptoms of Post-Filling Toothaches

After you have a filling, it’s normal for your tooth to feel slightly sore, since the enamel has been modified. However, this feeling should diminish within a few weeks if not the same day. If you experience persistent discomfort after a filling, you should contact us for assistance. Patients with post-filling toothaches most commonly experience:

  • Gum irritation or inflammation around the filled tooth
  • A sharp, electrical pain
  • Jaw ache and difficulty chewing
  • A foul taste or odor around the affected tooth

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, please contact our Houston dental practice for an appointment with Dr. Armstrong.

Why Can Fillings Cause Toothaches?

Unfortunately, there are many things that can go awry with a filling, especially if it is performed improperly or by an unqualified dentist. Your tooth may hurt after your procedure because:

  • The filling material did not bond well to the tooth, slightly exposing its nerves and allowing bacteria to infect it.
  • Your dentist drilled too deeply into your tooth to remove the decay.
  • The filling has a rough texture that irritates the gum tissue around it.
  • The reshaped enamel and filling do not line up properly with surrounding teeth, creating malocclusion (a misaligned bite).
  • The restoration procedure allowed bacteria to enter the tooth’s root pulp, creating an infection.
  • Another metal restoration is coming in contact with your new filling and creating an electrical spark, if you have an amalgam filling. Toothbody refers to this “galvanistic” effect as having “a battery in your mouth.”
  • You are allergic to the metals in an amalgam filling.

When you come in for an appointment with Dr. Armstrong, he can identify the cause of your post-filling toothache and recommend an appropriate treatment accordingly, whether this involves modifying your filling shape, replacing it, providing root canal therapy to treat an infection, or performing another procedure.

How Composite Fillings Can Help

We offer both amalgam and composite fillings at our Houston dental practice. To minimize your risks for toothache and provide a more natural, cosmetic look for your restored tooth, Dr. Armstrong often recommends composite fillings. These restorations can limit your discomfort because they:

  • Meld more easily with your tooth, so they require less enamel removal.
  • Are less prone to temperature-based distortions than the metal in amalgam fillings.
  • Do not carry any risks for allergic reaction.
  • Cannot transmit electrical charges from other fillings.
  • More effectively seal the tooth’s structure against external stimuli and bacteria.

Dr. Armstrong will help you choose which type of filling will suit your needs and preferences at your consultation. If you are struggling with galvanization or a metal allergy, we can also replace your existing amalgam filling with a composite one to alleviate your symptoms.

Your Comfort is Our Priority

We are committed to providing outstanding care while maintaining your comfort and safety. To learn more about fillings or find out how to treat your post-filling toothache, contact our Houston dental office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Armstrong.

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