When a patient develops a cavity, Dr. Feldmanis will most likely recommend the placement of a filling to repair the damaged caused by decay. While fillings offer a safe and effective treatment option for repairing a cavity, some patients may experience some discomfort or tooth sensitivity following treatment. In most cases, however, this type of discomfort will usually go away after only a few days.
If you experience severe pain, or if other symptoms such as fever or swelling accompany the discomfort, you need to call our Eugene family dental office immediately.
So you can better understand what you might experience following the placement of a filling, and why some patients develop sensitivity, let’s take a look as what could happen following treatment.
What You Should Expect After Receiving a Filling
When Dr. Feldmanis places a filling, she starts by removing any decay from the tooth. This helps to ensure that no further decay continues, and that the filling will have a firm base to rest upon. So that you don’t experience any unnecessary discomfort during the procedure, Dr. Feldmanis will use a numbing agent that will dull the area around the tooth.
Once the tooth has been cleaned and prepared, Dr. Feldmanis will place the filling to restore the tooth back to health. Most patients will receive a composite filling that blends seamlessly into their natural tooth color, but special fillings can be made out of other materials such as gold.
It’s not uncommon for patients to have their faces feel numb, tingly, puffy or even itchy following the procedure as they wait for the anesthetic to wear off. This numbing sensation may make it difficult to eat, swallow, talk and move your face as normal.
You may even receive the recommendation to avoid eating or drinking anything hot for a few hours to prevent you from biting your tongue or burning your mouth.
Once the effects of the anesthetic have worn off, you should have no problem eating and drinking like before. In fact, any pain you may have experienced chewing due to the cavity will no longer bother you, making it even easier to eat than before.
However, it’s not uncommon for some patients to develop sensitivity in the filled tooth and the surrounding area.
What to Expect from Tooth Sensitivity
When a patient develops a sensitive tooth, they may notice that certain stimuli trigger a temporary and uncomfortable sensation in the filled tooth or the surrounding area. You may experience something like a sudden shock of cold or pain that quickly comes and goes.
Stimuli that can trigger a sensitive tooth after the placement of a filling include:
- Eating cold foods, such as ice cream, or beverages with ice
- Drinking hot beverages like coffee or tea
- Air hitting the tooth when breathing through the mouth; this most commonly occurs during cold weather
- Eating sugary foods like candy
- Consuming foods and beverages high in acidity, such as orange juice or pineapple
- Biting down too hard when eating
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
While you should expect some sensitivity following the placement of a filling, an underlying issue can cause the problem to linger for more than a few days. In some cases, Dr. Feldmanis may need to treat or repair the issue in order to stop the discomfort.
Here are a few issues that can cause extended tooth sensitivity that may require treatment to correct:
- Nerve Irritation. In many cases, short-term sensitivity after the placement of a filling results from the aggravation or inflammation of a nerve inside the tooth. Usually, the outer layer of a tooth protects the nerves inside, but fillings can get close enough to a nerve ending to cause irritation and sensitivity. Fortunately, this type of sensitivity will go away once the nerve heals over few days or weeks.
- Poor bite alignment. Feldmanis needs to ensure that a filling lines up with the other teeth in a patient’s mouth. If the filling doesn’t fit with the exact curves and contours of a tooth, it can cause additional pressure on a tooth when biting down. In most cases, the patient’s bite will correct itself within a few weeks. However, if you experience prolong discomfort or extreme sensitivity when eating, you may want to ask Dr. Feldmanis to check the state of your bite.
- Inflammation. The inflammation of the pulp located deep inside a tooth, pulpitis can cause tooth discomfort and sensitivity. While this condition doesn’t typically occur with the placement of a filling, it might develop due to tooth trauma – such as a cracked or broken tooth – a deep and intrusive cavity, or if the tooth has undergone multiple fillings or dental procedures. Some types of pulpitis are reversible with treatment, while other more extreme cases may require a root canal to save the tooth.