Getting a cavity filled is a procedure that puts a lot of pressure on your teeth and gums, so it's normal to expect some pain for up to a few weeks after the procedure is complete. A filling is attached to your tooth to fill the cavity's hole, then smoothed to fit your mouth. The severity of the pain depends on a few factors: how deep the filling was, how many fillings you needed, and which teeth received the fillings. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to be cognizant about any pain in your mouth; intense or long-lasting pain can be a sign that something is wrong or that further work is needed.
What You Should Expect
The filling process can damage your gums a little, so after the numbing agent wears off, expect your gums to feel tender and bleed a little. They may also feel rough, but this is normal, and they will generally heal within a few days. Most of the pain should go away before your gums are even fully healed. Take care not to rub them with your tongue, and be very gentle when brushing.
You should also expect some general sensitivity in your teeth; you'll notice increased sensitivity to heat and cold, air, pressure and foods high in sugar. This too is normal, and it will generally fade within a week or two. Some minor pain and sensitivity even when you aren't doing anything is also to be expected.
- Tooth feels different: If your tooth feels a little different after the anesthesia wears off, you may have what is called a "high filling." This is when the filling rises a little too high and interferes with your natural bite. In this case, the filling can simply be reshaped.
- Filling is sharp: If your filling has a few sharp edges, your tongue and cheeks will be the first to know. Like a high filling, this can easily be fixed by having the filling smoothed during your next visit.
- Pain when biting: This can be caused by a high filling, but it is also a normal thing to feel after you get a deep filling.
When To See Your Dentist
No matter what procedure you had done, you shouldn't feel very intense pain after your anesthesia has worn off. You may be prescribed painkillers to help, but serious pain could indicate an issue with your tooth's nerve or roots. It's possible that you may need a root canal done instead of just a filling.
If you feel pain after eating and drinking, but the pain doesn't go away quickly after the food or liquid is removed, this could also be a problem. Pain caused by the extra sensitivity should be temporary, not constant.
In some cases, it's possible that the filling did not bond properly. Any gaps could cause harsh pain that doesn't go away, and the filling will need to be redone. For more information, contact a professional such as P. Jeffrey Lowe, DMD, PA.