is pain normal after a tooth filling - man holding jaw

Is Tooth Pain Normal After a Filling?

You finally decided to get a cavity filled, but now the tooth hurts. Should you be concerned? It depends on how long ago you got the filling, and on how severe your pain is. Here’s a look at whether or not it’s normal to feel pain after a tooth filling, and when to see your dentist. 

Only Minor Pain Is Normal After a Tooth Filling

After getting a filling, it’s perfectly normal to feel a little discomfort around the affected area once the anesthetic wears off. But sometimes, the filling procedure can irritate the nerve inside the tooth. 

If this happens, your tooth may temporarily be sensitive to hot, cold, sugary, and acidic foods, or you may experience pain when chewing after the filling. However, the tooth nerve will heal over time, so any pain or sensitivity you feel after the procedure should not last any longer than a week. 

When to See the Dentist for Tooth Pain After a Filling

If you have severe tooth pain after a filling, or if you have some minor pain that lasts longer than a week, it could be a sign of a bigger problem. You’ll need to see your dentist as soon as possible. 

The filling could create a misaligned bite if it doesn’t match the natural shape of the original tooth. A misaligned bite can cause pain when chewing and lead to TMJ disorders. So if your bite feels different, or if you can’t bite all the way down after getting a filling, schedule an appointment with your dentist so they can reshape it to fit. 

In rare cases, a dental filling procedure can result in pulpitis, a condition that inflames the soft tissue inside the tooth and causes severe pain. Pulpitis is rare, but if the tooth had trauma prior to the filling, if the cavity was significantly deep, or if the tooth has already undergone multiple dental procedures, it can happen. Pulpitis is usually reversible as long as you seek immediate treatment.

Another problem that can cause serious discomfort after a filling is an allergic reaction. For example, some people are allergic to filling materials like metal amalgam or latex gloves. If you experience swelling, itchiness, a rash, and/or difficulty breathing after a dental procedure, seek medical attention immediately. 

If your tooth with the filling hurts years later, it’s likely unrelated to the procedure. You could be experiencing an infection or further tooth decay, so you should still see your dentist right away.

How to Relieve Tooth Pain After Getting a Filling

You can relieve minor tooth pain after getting a filling by trying the following remedies at home:

  • Apply a cold compress to the affected side of your face
  • Numb the area with an oral gel
  • Rinse with warm saltwater
  • Stick to room-temperature foods and drinks
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication
  • Brush your teeth gently to prevent further irritation (neglecting to brush and floss due to discomfort will only lead to more pain from tooth decay later on)
  • Avoid whitening dental products until your mouth heals—these can otherwise irritate your already sensitive mouth

Gentle Dentist in Gilbert, Arizona

At Lifetime Family Dental, we want to ensure that you have a comfortable recovery after any dental procedure. Whether you need to get a cavity filled, or you’re worried that your tooth pain from a recent filling isn’t normal, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Call us today at 480-558-4331 to schedule an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/5/2022). Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash