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Experiencing Pain after Cavity Filling? Here’s What You Do


So, you’ve just gotten your teeth cavities sorted out with your dentist—and by sorted out, we mean they were removed and filled with a paste to restore your teeth’ natural form and function. It is, therefore, a bit strange to feel pain radiating from those sites since they’ve been cleaned and filled already, right?

Not exactly. Pain after any dental procedure is quite common, but here’s a reassuring guide on why you could experience tooth and jaw pain after cavity fillings and what to do when they start bothering you.

Some Plausible Reasons for Pain Include

  • Sensitive teeth
  • Gum problems such as gingivitis or periodontal disease.
  • Undetected and untreated tooth infection.
  • Crowding of teeth.

However, if none of these concerns afflict you, it might be strange to feel sudden pain around the filled teeth.

Here’s Another Plausible Reason Why

To get to the bottom of this, we need to understand what cavities are and how they impact oral health. Cavities are holes or deep decays on and within a tooth. They occur on teeth, especially when oral hygiene is poor and one’s diet is mostly sugar.

If they are not addressed by proper brushing, flossing, and dental care, these decays burrow from the surface and into teeth. Pain starts when the damage is excessive enough to reach the tooth root and nerve. However, your dentist will tell you that most cavities aren’t that painful or intense.

So, What’s the Real Reason?

Post-cavity filling pain is due to a change in pressure. Once filled by germs and bacteria, Portions of your tooth are now replaced with a hard dental paste.

This new filling affects the way air and liquids feel in your mouth, as evidenced when you drink water and exhale with your mouth. You may feel a slight tingling sensation during those moments, but those are entirely normal for a few weeks at most. The pain should completely go away by then.

If it doesn’t, check if you have the four symptoms in the first subpoint and see your dentist for further clarification.

How to Relieve the Pain

If you can’t wait a few weeks for that mild discomfort to go away, don’t worry! Your dentist can prescribe some medication, and you can also try out some homeopathic remedies, both of which are listed below:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain meds
  • Analgesic ointment to numb the painful areas
  • A toothpaste that lessens gum and tooth sensitivity
  • Cold compresses on the cheek or jaw
  • Avoidance of hot and cold foods for a week at most

In any case, choose pain reduction methods that suit your preferences. If you’re against medication, do tried-and-tested home remedies and vice versa. For pain meds, always be sure to get a prescription from your dentist. Never self-medicate.

Sometimes, dentists will prescribe Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin to help with pain regulation. However, these can produce unwanted side effects such as sleepiness and lethargy throughout the day. If you also have liver problems, avoid NSAIDs.

As prevention is always better than a cure, lessen and remove sugary foods from your diet altogether as they may eat away at your newly-filled teeth and bring back cavities. If you are going to eat something sweet, be sure to rinse your mouth with water.

One Final Thing

As dentists have always advised, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss your teeth once daily. These remove dirt and bacteria that lead to cavities and ensure your fillings last long. If you’re still feeling a bit of sensitivity in those areas, use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth and a brush with soft bristles to minimize discomfort.

If you need to visit a dentist in Raleigh, North Carolina, for cavity-filling or a plain old check-up, set an appointment today with Dr. Thomas E. Cooke Family Dentistry. We are a family-oriented practice specializing in dental emergencies, extensive tooth restoration, and replacement procedures to improve oral health across the greater state area. Book your appointment now!