Fact Checked

What to Do If You Have Tooth Sensitivity After a Filling?

Written by Fernanda Elizalde

November 14, 2022

Medically Reviewed

By Dr. Brian Harris, DDS

After getting a filling, some patients report feeling discomfort or heightened tooth sensitivity. This might happen due to an allergic response, discomfort to the nerves, or improper bite alignment.

It is normal to have sensitive teeth after getting a cavity filling. However, in most cases, this tooth pain goes away after some time.

However, you should get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible if you are experiencing excruciating tooth pain or if the discomfort is accompanied by other signs and symptoms like fever or edema.

This article discusses you may have tooth sensitivity after getting a filling, how to manage it, and the signs that indicate it's time to see your dentist. Also, we investigate the possibility of tooth sensitivity caused by other factors.

LED Electric Toothbrush

What is a dental filling?

Cavities, decaying teeth regions that create tiny holes, are commonly treated with a root canal procedure and cavity fillings. Your dentist will fix these holes with a material such as an amalgam or composite during a fill. While this is a fundamental and routine process, many people have sensitive teeth afterward.

Tooth sensitivity usually goes away within a few weeks, depending on the reason.

The procedure for getting a filling explained

Fillings are one of the most common treatments that dentists undertake. It is a common surgery that may relieve discomfort caused by cavities and a cracked or broken tooth while restoring the tooth so you can eat and drink normally.

The routine procedure for getting a filling is divided into three steps: 

Numbing agent: A local anesthetic is administered to the region where the filling will numb the area around the tooth.

Removing the decay: Your dentist will next remove the decayed portions from the damaged tooth, using a tiny drill to chip away at the decay carefully. This only takes a few minutes and causes no discomfort.

Placing the filling into the affected tooth: your tooth filling is placed once the decay has been removed. Depending on your dentist's recommendation, your filling might be porcelain, resin, metal, PFM (porcelain fused with metal), or a mixture.

      After the surgery, you should avoid eating for a few hours, especially hot and cold food, since your mouth will feel numb.

      What occurs following dental fillings?

      A dental professional carefully cleans the tooth to eliminate decay and debris before filling the affected tooth with a filling substance.

      Injecting numbing medication around the damaged tooth is the initial step in this surgery. The tooth decay is then cleaned and filled with amalgam, porcelain, or other material using a dental drill.

      You may have a numb feeling in your face for several hours after the dental procedure, or it may even feel tingling. Aside from that, you may have difficulty eating, speaking, swallowing, or even moving your face.

      The best solution is to avoid eating and drinking, especially sugary foods, for several hours after the dentist fills the tooth. Because your mouth is numb, you might accidentally bite your tongue or cheek, which might hurt.

      Your feeling will return as the anesthetic wears off. Because of the filling, inside your mouth might feel strange for a few days and maybe even some sharp pain as the anesthesia wears off.

      After a cavity filling, sensitivity or pain surrounding the filled tooth is relatively frequent and should be addressed accordingly.

      Do you have sensitive teeth after a filling?

      People with sensitive teeth may find that some triggers induce a transient, unpleasant sensation in the filled tooth or teeth immediately surrounding the area. It can feel like a sudden blast of cold or extreme soreness that comes on abruptly and then subsides.

      Possible causes of such tooth sensitivity following a filling can include:

      • cold foods or beverages
      • heated beverages
      • When breathing, the air hits the tooth
      • sweet foods
      • Acidic meals and drinks, such as fruit, coffee, and juice
      • biting down on hard food

        Snow teeth whitening kit

        Why are fillings responsible for tooth sensitivity?

        Temporary mildly sensitive teeth are expected following a dental filling. However, chronic or serious sensitivity following fillings is often due to other factors that must be addressed.

        We'll go through the probable reasons for this ailment and when you should consult a dentist.

        Irritated nerve

        Short-lasting tooth sensitivity after getting a filling is generally caused by the filling process inflaming the nerve causing tooth pain.

        The enamel and cementum layers of the tooth typically protect the nerve from air exposure. However, deeper fillings can approach close to nerve endings and usually cause irritation and discomfort.

        The sensation will go away as the nerve recovers. This might take several days or sometimes weeks. After the nerve has healed completely, there should be no discernible difference between the newly filled tooth and the remaining teeth.

        Inadequate bite alignment

        Dentists must verify that the filling aligns with the mouth's other teeth.

        People may notice slight sensitivity while biting in the days following the operation. This sensitivity usually goes away by itself.

        The filling might produce extra pressure as the user bites down when the filling is excessively high. This can result in discomfort and is frequently worse than post-filling tooth pain.

        If you have extreme sensitivity or trouble swallowing or placing your teeth together, you should consult your dentist. To appropriately match the bite and prevent discomfort, the dentist may decide to smooth down the higher points of the filling.


        The inflammation of the pulp within the tooth is known as pulpitis. It has the potential to induce dental sensitivity and discomfort.

        Usually, the pulp remains healthy with minor fillings. However, it may occur if:

        • Trauma to the tooth, such as an accident that resulted in a broken tooth
        • A very deep cavity goes all the way to the inner pulp layer.
        • The tooth has had several fillings or other restorative procedures.

          Pulpitis is classified into two categories. Reversible pulpitis is a modest inflammation in which the pulp stays healthy, and the tooth heals on its own. Irreversible pulpitis happens when a nerve is injured and begins to die. A root canal is required in certain circumstances to save the tooth.

          A new filling or other restorative operation can cure pulpitis. Antibiotics may also be required to clear any bacterial infection.

          Reaction to allergens

          A filling may cause an allergic reaction in certain persons. According to a 2015 study, amalgam is the most common filling material that produces an allergic reaction.

          Other components used in the treatment, such as the latex in the dentist's gloves, may also cause allergic reactions.

          How to deal with tooth sensitivity after a filling

          You can assist in lessening sore teeth by doing the following:

          • Ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Motrin)
          • Temporarily abstaining from hot and cold foods and beverages
          • Avoiding acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, wine, and yogurt
          • Brushing and flossing softly
          • Use desensitizing toothpaste
          • Chewing on the other side of your mouth
          • Avoid whitening toothpaste for a few weeks

            The most common reason for sore teeth is an issue with your bite.

            If you suspect a problem with your bite, contact your dentist as soon as possible since you may not notice it until the numbness has gone off. They can make the filling match your other teeth better.

            You may require a root canal if your pulpitis does not go away after a few weeks.

            When should you see a dentist if you have tooth sensitivity after filling?

            You shouldn't be too concerned if you have minimal pain occurs following a filling. You can reduce toothaches and agony using home treatments.

            Suppose the sensitivity or toothache after a filling persists, worsens, makes opening the mouth or eating difficult, or is accompanied by additional symptoms such as fever or severe tooth pain. In that case, you should contact your local dentist right away.

            Frequently Asked Questions

            Is it a problem that I have sensitive teeth after a filling?

            One of the most typical signs that a filling is failing is if you experience an immediate, acute discomfort when biting or chewing on a single tooth. Other signs include your tooth appearing grey compared to other teeth, indicating that bacteria have reached the region between the file and your enamel. The filling would most likely be redone in this scenario.

            What if my root canal is too deep?

            If you have had a deep filling and are feeling discomfort, it is possible that the filling has irritated a nerve. The nerve should heal independently, but dental care may be necessary if the pain or sensitivity persists after two to four weeks.

            What if a filling is too small?

            Too-low fillings may not have been properly fitted or molded into the space in your tooth. This increases the likelihood of the filling becoming loose, fracturing, or falling out. If your filling becomes loose, you should see your dentist immediately since germs will enter your tooth.

            Is it painful to have dental fillings?

            All current filling methods employ a local anesthetic to guarantee that you are not in discomfort throughout the process. Fillings are meant to relieve any pain linked with your cavity. Therefore any prior pain from your cavity should be gone once your filling has been done.

            What foods may I consume after a filling?

            Because your tooth and mouth will be sensitive following your filling, it is strongly suggested that you avoid hot and hard meals for at least two hours. Hard items, heated food, and drink can dislodge your new filling and cause pain and suffering (especially if the filling is gold, silver, or metal-based). You can eat again in a few hours or after the numbing sensation has worn off.

            How long will it take for my filling to heal?

            After two to four weeks, you should be able to eat and normally drink, with the sensitivity improving daily. This varies from patient to patient and is determined by the severity and size of the filling.

            If you have a deep filling and are in discomfort after treatment, your dentist may recommend you take pain relievers. 

            Snow Whitening Toothpaste


            Fillings are a non-invasive and effective method of treating dental cavities. The majority of fillings will last for many years. Brushing and flossing every day, as well as obtaining regular dental exams, can help prevent future cavities.

            Sensitivity following a filling is normal and to be expected. However, it is critical to consult a dentist if you have severe tooth pain or discomfort or if other symptoms, such as fever, emerge.