White tooth filling still hurting a month later - experiences? Advice?
July 31, 2019 1:43 AM   Subscribe

After dental X-rays, I had to have a filling due to a cavity in the side of an upper left hand tooth, five back from the front. Ever since, on-and-off, that side of my mouth has been sensitive to food and drink of any temperature, plus I've been getting achy jaw pain at night. It's making me grumpy. Can anyone give me hope?

After two weeks of irritation, I went back to my dentist who sanded down the top of the filling slightly as he thought perhaps the filling was affecting my bite. To be frank my bite is all kinds of wonky anyway (very British!) so I can't really tell if it's any different to before, though I can feel a little roughness with my tongue around the back of the tooth.

The dentist also said that it can take white fillings in particular about eight weeks to 'settle down', though I've had one previously in a back molar and it was fine within a day or so. He also mentioned that if the sensitivity persisted then he might have to drill out and replace the filling.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who's had this side effect and resolved it, or anyone with professional knowledge who can give me an indication of the likelihood that I will have to have the filling replaced. Has this filling screwed up my teeth? I've had this dentist for several years now and two previous fillings have been fine, but should I look for a second opinion on this one?
posted by doornoise to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I feel pretty sure my (NHS) dentist would be wanting to hear back from me if I felt like that. I'd go back for another look with the original dentist if that's possible. I'd be inclined to say that it's more likely it's just the nature of dentistry than any actual issues with the quality of your dentist's work.

If it's NHS work, you won't have to pay again.

Source: I've had lots of work done on my teeth recently, and also had an hour long consultation on an implant yesterday. Feel free to ignore me if experts come along.
posted by ambrosen at 3:02 AM on July 31, 2019

Just to clarify, I went back to see the original dentist two weeks after the filling.
posted by doornoise at 3:58 AM on July 31, 2019

Sorry, I didn't make it clear I'd seen that. I think a second trip back to say that it's about more than just filing it down is still reasonable.

If you felt fobbed off last time, then use your judgement as to whether you want to go back, but I'd expect them to be xraying it this time.
posted by ambrosen at 5:26 AM on July 31, 2019

Anecdotally, I have had fillings that were a little achy for a couple months and then were fine. YMMV.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:12 AM on July 31, 2019

Seconding rabbitrabbit. I had old fillings replaced with white fillings. My dentist, when I complained, had some empathy but also told me to come back in a couple months if they still hurt. They were sore/sensitive for about six weeks and then felt fine. I think if they had still hurt after two months I would have pushed them to make it right.
posted by tayknight at 7:13 AM on July 31, 2019

I have also had fillings that took months to fully adjust to, now they are fine and cause no pain. I think one was six months! But I held out because the alternative was root canal. I was anxious too, my dentist assured me that cases of lingering pain like mine almost always improve and usually return to normal pain-free status.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:26 AM on July 31, 2019

Yeah, I've also had a filling like that. Around two months to "settle", IIRC.
posted by Harald74 at 7:50 AM on July 31, 2019

This happens to me sometimes because my mouth/tooth nerves take a long time to relax after I've had a filling done. If you've already had a check at 2 weeks to make sure everything is fine, I'd wait. It can take several months for my nerves to fully calm down and then everything is fine. Every one of my fillings is white composite. If you clench at night while you sleep, it can take even longer).
posted by quince at 8:05 AM on July 31, 2019

I have sensitive teeth where a filling takes me a few months to not be sensitive anymore. I am in the US, so I'm not sure if this product is available to you, but my dentist recommended I use Parodontax toothpaste as he says it helps desensitize teeth (totally paraphrasing). I've found that it helped my teeth get less sensitive.
posted by jillithd at 8:14 AM on July 31, 2019

Phew, thanks everyone. I will hold off on freaking out for another four weeks or so. Cross fingers it'll calm down by itself.
posted by doornoise at 8:50 AM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's quite common for teeth to be sensitive after a filling. The tooth decay (or crack or whatever was the reason you needed a filling) can irritate the pulp (the innermost part of the tooth where the blood supply and nerve endings are), as can the procedure itself with all of the heating, cooling, rinsing and application of bonding agents. The pulp will swell a bit, but has nowhere to go, which is why cold and pressure make it uncomfortable.

Over the counter (otc) anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen (400 mg if you can take it) can help, but time is the best cure if you have had it adjusted and the bite is okay.

The achey jaw pain is likely because you are subconsciously "finding" it and grinding at it to try to make it right. this is also common and should go away as the tooth recovers, but may also be a sign of a night time grinding habit that may have other repercussions.

I'm not your dentist , of course.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:52 AM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

To help with the jaw pain, you get very inexpensive mouth guard kits at the drugstore (at least in US). This might help with the grinding at night. They don't last but in your situation it might be helpful until the tooth settles down.
posted by metahawk at 11:08 AM on July 31, 2019

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