Visiting your dentist regularly is critical to maintaining your oral health. The American Dental Association recommends scheduling checkup appointments with your dentist every six months for professional cleanings and screenings for tooth decay or early signs of gum disease. However, even if you adhere to these oral hygiene guidelines, it’s still possible to develop dental caries that require fillings to prevent further decay.
If you have a cavity that requires a deep filling, you may experience mild discomfort in the hours or days following. Find out why that happens and how you can manage it to minimize the sensation.
What is a Deep Dental Filling Procedure?
There are three types of cavities:
- Root cavities
- Smooth-surface cavities
- Pit and fissure cavities
While smooth-surface cavities affect only the flat, external surfaces of the tooth, root cavities and pit and fissure cavities occur because of decay deeper in the tooth. Pit and fissure cavities occur on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, typically in the molars among the grooves on the top of the teeth where plaque or food gets trapped. If they are not caught early, these deeper cavities may require a crown or root canal to treat.
Root cavities occur at the tooth base, often in individuals with receding gums where the root becomes exposed. Sometimes root cavities can be fixed with a filling, but if decay extends into the tooth’s pulp, a root canal may be necessary.
In most cases, deep cavities are treated using dental fillings. For this procedure, your dentist numbs the area with a local anesthetic and removes the decayed areas of the tooth. Next, they fill the hole and seal the cavity to prevent further decay. At Countryside Dental Group, we offer tooth-colored fillings for a natural look that keeps your smile white and aesthetically pleasing.
If you require a root canal to remove bacteria from the inflamed tooth root to prevent reinfection, this will be performed before your filling. The infected tooth pulp is extracted, the inside of the tooth is cleaned, disinfected, and shaped. Then a filling is placed to restore the tooth’s surface. For additional strength or to restore the function and integrity of the tooth after root canal therapy, your dentist might recommend placing a dental crown.
Tooth Sensitivity After Dental Fillings
After a deep filling is placed, an irritated nerve is common because the nerve may become inflamed. This can cause sharp, uncomfortable sensations that fade over time. In rare cases, if the pulp of your tooth becomes inflamed during drilling, you may experience pulpitis. Typically this subsides on its own. In extreme cases, pulpitis must be treated with a root canal where your dentist removes the pulp.
You may also experience tooth sensitivity after a filling when consuming hot or cold food and drinks, which is entirely normal given the irritation of the nerve. However, avoid eating anything with extreme temperatures in the hours after your filling appointment to allow it to set correctly. Sensitivity to hot and cold will subside in a few days or weeks. If it continues past four weeks, you should consult your dentist to determine if another issue is the cause of your prolonged discomfort.
How to Manage Tooth Discomfort After Deep Fillings
To manage pain or discomfort following a deep filling procedure, you can:
- Avoid consuming hot or cold food and drinks
- Brush and floss gently around the treatment site
- Take non-inflammatory medication as instructed by your dentist
- Temporarily chew on the other side of your mouth
Countryside Dental Group Can Help
At Countryside Dental Group, we offer dental fillings for general dentistry and cosmetic purposes. If you are experiencing oral discomfort, contact our practice to schedule a checkup.