Is it normal to have tooth pain and sensitivity after a filling?

I got 3 cavities filled yesterday. Whenever I drink cold water or anything cold my teeth are really sensitive. It kind of hurts. The cavities were causing sensitivity but I wasn’t expecting to feel this. Will the fillings need to be redone? Kourtnee

Kourtnee – It’s normal to experience sensitivity after you have cavities filled. For the first 24 to 40 hours after getting the filling, you should avoid stick or hard foods that can irritate the teeth that were filled or that can cause the fillings to come out.

Nerves in your teeth are sensitive—particularly after having decay removed and replaced with filling. Deep decay close to a nerve can cause you to feel more sensitivity than normal. The sensitivity should gradually go away. It can take up to four weeks for you to feel no sensitivity at all. Amalgam (silver) fillings contain metal and more readily transfer heat and cold to your teeth than composite fillings.

If you feel pain when chewing food, it’s possible that there is a problem with the filling. It may be too high and interfering with your bite (the way your teeth fit together). In the next two or three days, if it feels as if your teeth aren’t closing together correctly in the areas of the fillings, contact your dentist.

Tooth Sensitivity Without a Recent Filling

People who haven’t recently received fillings can also experience sensitivity in their teeth. This can be due to:

  • decay
  • damaged tooth pulp, which contains tooth nerves
  • a tooth infection
  • receding gums due to age, hormonal changes, or periodontal disease
  • aggressive tooth brushing
  • trauma to a tooth
  • teeth bleaching gel

If you are experiencing sensitivity and haven’t had a cavity filled recently, contact your dentist. The cause of the sensitivity will be identified, and the appropriate treatment will be recommended.

Damaged tooth pulp will require a root canal treatment. Exposed tooth roots may benefit from toothpaste for sensitive teeth, fluoride treatment, or a gum graft. Sensitivity from bleaching gel may require using a gel that is not as strong.

This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Bruxism – Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the act of clenching or grinding your teeth. The problem occurs mostly at night, when most people are unaware that they have the habit. An estimated 8% of adults are teeth grinders, and 1/3 of parents report that their children have the habit.

What are the causes?

Exactly why bruxism occurs is not clear. But there are circumstances that make people more susceptible to it.

  • Anxiety and stress – People with nervous tension, anger, pain, or frustration can put forceful tension on their teeth. It is estimated that 70% of bruxism is related to anxiety and stress.
  • Sleep disorders – Snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep talking, or aggression while asleep increase the likelihood that a person also grinds his or her teeth while asleep.
  • Lifestyle – Bruxism is much more common in people who use psychoactive substances (antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, sleep aids, tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol).

What are the symptoms of teeth grinding?

  • Gum recession, abnormal wearing of the teeth, tooth pain
  • Neck pain, jaw pain, earaches, headaches
  • Jaw clicking or popping
  • Sensitivity in the teeth

Why seek treatment?

If teeth grinding is left untreated, the results can be damaging to your oral health and overall health. In addition to toothaches, headaches, and facial pain, your sleep can be affected. If the problem progresses, it can lead to tempormandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Teeth can wear and break and require restoration.

Bruxism treatment

An occlusal split, or mouthguard, can be custom fit by your dentist for maximum effectiveness. The mouthguard moves your lower jaw forward to limit teeth grinding. It also relaxes the jaw, which in turn relieves jaw pain and soreness.

If it is suspected that teeth grinding is related to sleep apnea, a sleep study may be recommended. A sleep apnea machine (CPAP) or an oral appliance can be used to alleviate sleep apnea.

Behavioral approaches, including relaxation techniques, medication, or reducing stress factors in life may be recommended.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Chemotherapy and oral health

It is helpful to identify and treat dental problems before chemotherapy treatment begins. Gum disease cavities, loose fillings, broken crowns, and other dental problems can become worse during chemotherapy. When the immune system is weak or when white blood cell count is low, the risk of infection increases, and existing oral health issues can worsen. Chemotherapy can also prevent cells from dividing, which slows the healing process in the mouth.

Oral complications of chemotherapy

  • Dry mouth
  • Easy bleeding in the mouth and ulcers
  • Changes in taste
  • Inflamed mucous membranes
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease

 What you can do about it

  • Dry mouth – Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Use fluoride toothpaste. Tell your dentist about your health condition. He or she may recommend or prescribe mouth rinse or saliva-producing medication.
  • Easy bleeding and ulcers – Use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth several times throughout the day, but avoid aggressive brushing. Rinsing your mouth with a mixture of salt water and 3% hydrogen peroxide can assist with healing of any sores in your mouth.
  • Changes in taste – This is often a result of dry mouth or damage to the taste buds. After your chemotherapy treatment is complete, your sense of taste may gradually improve in a few months.
  • Inflamed mucous membranes – Regularly rinse your mouth throughout the day. Keep your teeth clean, and use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Replace your toothbrush often. Your dentist may recommend a water-soluble lubricating jelly to keep your mouth moist.
  • Tooth decay – Gently floss between your teeth and gums daily. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush after every meal to keep your teeth clean. Keep your regularly scheduled dental appointments for examination and cleaning. If you wear dentures, clean them daily and keep them moist.
  • Gum disease – Floss gently, but regularly. Your dentist will recommend an antibacterial rinse. Keep your dental appointments.

Although it may be difficult, try to eat regularly and maintain proper nutrition. Avoid junk food and carbonated beverages, which can create additional acid in your mouth, reduce saliva production, and increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth.

Chemotherapy may affect your oral health in other ways. Maintain open communication with your dentist to ensure the issues are properly addressed.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.