Is the weirdness of a new filling normal and temporary?
October 14, 2010 2:47 AM   Subscribe

Should I be able to feel the edge of a filling with my tongue?

I just got my first ever filling today. It is on the back of a front tooth (the tooth chipped randomly as I was brushing my teeth this morning, yeah, WTF?)

After the dentist finished, she asked me if it felt smooth. It felt a million times better than the rough chipped surface did beforehand, so I said yes.

But ever since (about 10 hours now), my tongue keeps returning to the "seam" of the edge of the filling and running along it, worrying at it, etc. It feels like there is some alien object stuck to my tooth and my tongue wants to try and remove it - like when food is stuck in your teeth. I am trying not to do this, but it's really hard to stop. Two of the edges of the filling feel like this, while the other two are almost unnoticeable.

So I am wondering now whether she didn't polish it as smooth as was possible, and whether I should go back and ask her to smooth it out more. Or is it normal to feel like there is something weird in your mouth with a new filling? How long will it take before I stop noticing it? I have no idea what is normal here and I don't want to be a pain in the butt to my dentist if I'm obsessing over nothing. But I also don't want to keep poking at it with my tongue until I actually do some damage.

It's a composite (white) filling, in case that's relevant. I didn't have anaesthetic, so the weirdness isn't a side effect of that. And there is no pain.
posted by lollusc to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is normal, in that it happens a lot. It is not normal, in that your fillings should not drive you bonkers.

Give your dentists office a call first thing in the morning and let them know you'd like to have your filling adjusted a little because the edge is bothering your tongue. In all likelihood they'll be happy to squeeze you in. Be warned that you will probably be jammed in between 2 'productive' appointments because you shouldn't pay for filling fixes. This means the dentist is not going to have all the time in the world to chat about kittens or little league scores. Which is probably good because I'll bet you want to get back on with your life also.

(dentists see usually reluctant to overpolish because... Well I'm not a dentist, and I'm certainly not your dentist. If you're curious, ask. They'll be glad you care about your oral health.)

IANAD, IANYD. I did manage a dental office in what feels like another lifetime now.
posted by bilabial at 3:03 AM on October 14, 2010

For what it's worth, I had a tooth crowned and for three days I noticed it pretty much every time I closed my mouth. It was unbearable, exactly that feeling of wrongness... Then on day four, I woke up, went about my day and just somehow had forgotten about it. Give it time, you'll adapt to it I reckon.
posted by iivix at 4:01 AM on October 14, 2010

Best answer: As someone who has toooooooonns of cavities this is normal. I have mostly composite fillings and I find that in two or three days normal wear and tear of eating and so forth make the fillings seem less noticeable/my tongue gets used to them being there, That being said, if it still bothers you in a few days, by all means go back to the dentist and have them file it a little more. They should be used to this and it's not a big deal at all.
posted by raccoon409 at 4:03 AM on October 14, 2010

Yea Nthing that this is normal. I had a ton of ortho work as a kid, fillings, braces, retainers, etc. Every little change is unbearable for about 2.5 days...then you kinda forget about it. If it bothers you longer than 4 days, go back and theyll work on it for you...but really you'll just be resetting your "get used to it" clock. Try to keep busy and keep your mind off it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:19 AM on October 14, 2010

Another vote for normal. I got a bunch of fillings a few months back, and EVERYTHING was making me crazy -- the seams on the fillings, my slightly new bite, etc. Not only did I "get used to it," but the seams have diminished as I've eaten, brushed, had a subsequent cleaning, etc. For me, it took more than a couple of days (more like a couple of weeks) to be not totally annoyed by my new mouth, but like I said, I got a bunch of fillings, not just one.
posted by somanyamys at 6:26 AM on October 14, 2010

I have a cap and it drove me nuts because it was too smooth. A week and I forgot it's there.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:56 AM on October 14, 2010

I have a ton of fillings, and I've gone back to have some filed down because they were painful--but also because they were intrusive (I couldn't stop playing with one, and kept cutting my tongue on it). It's no biggie to call your dentist and ask for an adjustment.

For what it's worth, I don't know how worth it it is to try to push through your discomfort. My bite is really sensitive to changes, and, for example, when my dentist told me that a new crown would feel weird and to ignore it, it lead to months of minor discomfort. Asking him to shave it down at my next visit took about twelve seconds and made me feel instantly better.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:14 AM on October 14, 2010

Best answer: Just a note, though - it COULD be a rough filling. A few years ago I got some fillings far back in my mouth, and the dentist generously offered to smooth them if they felt weird in the next few days (maybe she could tell one was rough). But I was in college, and the hassle of going back to the dentist (not to mention picking up the phone and calling again) was way too much for me. So now I have this filling that still drives me crazy and food gets stuck on it and it's terrible.
On the other hand poking at it with your tongue doesn't do much damage.
posted by ke rose ne at 9:59 AM on October 14, 2010

Best answer: The thing about tooth colored fillings is that they blend in very nicely with your tooth, add a bit of moisture to bounce the light rays just right and it becomes very hard to see that transition between filling and tooth. Your tongue is a much better edge detector than my eyes or my instrument, so yes, it is quite normal for you to feel something that needs a bit of extra adjustment and no, it is no trouble to have you back in to do it.
Normal disclaimers apply , of course. good luck.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:11 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've had a couple fillings that initially felt funny (your tongue is REALLY sensitive, after all), and after a few days, they didn't. And I've had a couple fillings that continued to feel funny, particularly against the teeth they were closing onto. In the latter case, call your doctor and have her finish polishing them. It's common for you (and her) not to quite be able to tell at the time--your jaw is tired, you're distracted, and so on. It only takes a few minutes to polish it again. Once I went back in twice. I was really pleased that I did; a few days later it felt a million times more normal.

You can call her and ask how many days you should wait for it to settle in, if you want. I don't think that would be a big deal.
posted by wintersweet at 3:15 PM on October 14, 2010

Go back to the dentist. If those edges are not making a proper seal with the tooth, they could be a likely site for future decay. You could easily end up with more decay there in the future.
It's not unusual for fillings to require this type of adjustment, but it should not be ignored. You are not being a pain, you're just getting what you have already paid for--a good filling. Sometimes it takes a little fine-tuning. Give the dentist the opportunity to make their work perfect.
posted by Corvid at 3:57 PM on October 14, 2010

Response by poster: Well the consensus seems to be that I should wait a couple of days and if it's still bothering me, go back and ask. That sounds reasonable. I have an appointment for a cleaning next week anyway, so I'll ask her about it then if it's still annoying.

Thanks all!
posted by lollusc at 5:45 PM on October 14, 2010

FWIW I also have a composite filling (in one of my canines) and I also found it very odd after it was done. I spent a lot of time toying with it with my tongue, and still occasionally find myself doing so. I too can feel a "seam". As it's my only filling, it still seems weird and disconcerting. It is two years old at this point.
posted by asciident at 8:00 PM on October 14, 2010

Response by poster: Follow-up in case anyone else in a similar situation checks this thread:

The filling "seam" was indeed still bothering me a week later, so at my appointment for cleaning, I asked to have it adjusted. It was no problem, the dentist didn't seem surprised, and it only took a few seconds. Then it took about 24 hours for me to get used to the new feeling of it, and now I can hardly even find it when I try.
posted by lollusc at 8:21 PM on October 20, 2010

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