Tooth Sensitivity After Filling

Tooth Sensitivity After Filling

It’s relatively common for children to have tooth decay and require dental fillings, and more than half of the adolescents in the United States have had a filling in one or more teeth. By adulthood, it is estimated that as many as 90% of the people in the US have had at least one cavity repaired. If you’ve had a filling, or if your child recently had one, you’re probably familiar with the basics of the procedure and know that dental fillings can cause tooth sensitivity for a period following the procedure. This tooth sensitivity is relatively easy to manage, but you might want to prepare your child with reasonable expectations, especially, if they’re getting ready for their first filling, and talk to them about what they might experience after their first filling.

Whether you’re the patient or your child is, there are some effective steps you can take to manage sensitivity after your tooth filling. To remove tooth decay and place a filling, the dentist will anesthetize the area, numbing the tooth and surrounding tissue so there’s no pain during the procedure. This anesthetic will linger after the procedure, and the area will remain numb for a few hours. This means that the patient should take extra care to avoid biting their tongue or cheek while the area is numb. For the first few hours, avoid eating anything that requires chewing; accidents happen, and the results can be excruciating when the anesthetic wears off. It’s normal to experience sensitivity in the tooth for a few days after a tooth filling, and a little bit of pain could even be present. Any pain or sensitivity and swelling shouldn’t last longer than a day or two, though, so if these symptoms persist, call your dentist and make an appointment right away.

While dealing with pain and sensitivity following a tooth filling, limit the diet to soft foods for a few days, and limit the use of straws in these first few days, too; sucking can exacerbate sensitivity and make it last longer. The patient should avoid exertion or vigorous activity on the day of the dental filling and the day after. To manage discomfort, cold compresses can be applied to the outside of the face in the area of the filling in 15-minute intervals, but make sure to put a soft cloth between the face and the cold compress to protect the skin. Acetaminophen can also help manage pain; make sure to use the appropriate dose for the age of the patient. Monitor the area for continued sensitivity after the first couple of days, and contact the dentist if symptoms persist.

One of the best ways to keep tooth decay from happening in the first place is with a good oral hygiene routine, and it’s important to maintain this routine following a dental filling procedure. Make sure to use a soft-bristled brush to clean the entire oral cavity, and brush the area of the filling with extra care. When you floss, don’t pull on the area near the filling; try using a water flosser if you’d prefer a gentler approach to interdental cleaning. You can teach your child all these things, too, helping them learn and establish an oral hygiene routine that will fend off tooth decay for years to come.

Temporary Tooth Filling