Untreated tooth decay will almost certainly lead to the tooth's pulp (its nerve) becoming irritated and infected. This results in toothache, which is often severe. Filling the cavity (while the decay can still be corrected with a filling) should stop the decay in its tracks, and will prevent the onset of any significant discomfort resulting from the cavity. So why does your tooth feel uncomfortable, or even a little painful after your cavity has been filled?

Filling Cavities

Most dentists fill multiple cavities per day in various patients. But they'll only place a filling when this is the best option for the tooth's level of deterioration. Minor discomfort after a filling has been placed doesn't mean that some catastrophe is underway in your tooth, nor does it mean that the filling was inadequate for the job. In short—don't be alarmed.

Discomfort and Sensitivity

However, although a composite resin (tooth-colored) filling blends seamlessly into your tooth and should be invisible, it's still a new addition to your tooth's structure. As such, some minor discomfort and elevated sensitivity aren't out of the ordinary with a new filling. These sensations should fade quickly. If you need some assistance, you may wish to use over-the-counter pain relief (aspirin or ibuprofen) for a few days—but it's unlikely that any discomfort or sensitivity will be noticeable for long, and this is assuming that you notice anything at all.

Continuing Symptoms

Applying dental fillings to cavities is such a common procedure that complications don't often happen. But because it's a relatively simple procedure, any complications are equally simple to correct. Any continuing discomfort or sensitivity should be minor, but the fact that it's continuing means you need to see your dentist.

The Height of the Filling

It could be that your filling is too high, and so protrudes from the cavity, instead of sitting level with the rest of the tooth's surface enamel. If this is the case, the elevated piece of composite resin will make premature contact with the tooth in the opposing row of teeth when your jaw is closed. This can place increased pressure on the tooth, and when this is combined with the tooth's recent decay and excavation, the reason for your ongoing discomfort is no longer a mystery.

Modifying the Filling

If it turns out that your filling was made too high, your dentist can quickly and easily file it down so that it blends into the rest of the tooth's structure. As mentioned, these complications are easy to correct.

If discomfort is experienced after a tooth has been filled, it will almost certainly fade without delay. If not, the filling might need a minor adjustment—which your dentist can quickly arrange for you.

Reach out to dentists near you for more information.