If your dentist has determined that you have a cavity, it is always a good idea to get a filling as soon as possible. The procedure for placing a filling is simpler and less invasive than other forms of dental work, such as root canals. It can often be completed in an hour or less, and can potentially last for decades.
You’ll usually be numbed for the procedure, but a filling can often be rough on the teeth and gums. That is why it is not uncommon to experience a few discomforts in the days and weeks after the filling. It’s a good idea to educate yourself on what is normal and what isn’t so that you can contact a dentist right away if there is a problem.
What’s Normal After a Filling?
Dental restorations are almost like surgery on a tooth. The dentist cleans and disinfects every part of the tooth, prepares it for the restoration material (composite, metal, etc.), places the material, and then hardens it and shapes it to give it a toothlike appearance. The dentist may also grind it down to make it smooth or to help even out your bite.
That puts a lot of pressure on the teeth and gums, so you can expect that you may experience:
- Mild Toothache – You may have a toothache, which should be mind, that progressively decreases and goes away after 1 to 7 days.
- Sensitivity – Your tooth may be sensitive to cold or hot beverages. That sensitivity should start to decrease after one week and your teeth should no longer be sensitive after 2 or 3 weeks.
- Referred Pain – Sometimes the pain you experience may not be in the same place you had the filling. You may notice that other teeth, your jaw, or your gums may have some pain or sensitivity.
All of these are normal. They are unlikely to be too severe, and most of the time they go away on their own without additional help.
What is Not Normal?
Even the best dentist in the world cannot always account for some of the issues that can arise after dental restoration. It is helpful to pay attention to the following:
- Bite Feels Off – Your teeth should connect as you chew or talk. If it feels like only one side is connecting or your bite feels off, you may need to come in so we can help fix your bite. It is typically a very simple procedure that can be completed in 15 minutes without numbing.
- Severe Pain – Severe pain, especially if it is throbbing and constant, can be a bit more worrying. It may imply that your infection/cavity was already able to make contact with the root and that the filling wasn’t able to prevent this contact. This would require a root canal and is urgent.
- Filling Falls Out – Although very rare, a filling that did not properly cure the tooth can fall out. This also usually requires an urgent visit, especially if it comes with pain.
Most of these situations are rare, although it is not uncommon for a bite to be a bit off. Because we cannot feel your bite for you, and because you’re numb at the procedure, sometimes it is not possible to know if your bite is off until after you go home and the anesthetic has worn off. Luckily, it is simple to fix and requires only a quick follow-up.
If you have any concerns about your dental restoration, or you’d like to schedule an appointment for a dental filling, please contact Dental Concepts today.