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I had a filling, but it still hurts!

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Medically reviewed by
M.D. Can Tokman

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This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified dentist for personalized treatment recommendations.

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You will find answers to the following questions in this article:

  • How long should my tooth hurt after a filling?
  • Why do I still have tooth pain after filling?
  • How long should filling pain last?
  • Why is my filling pain not going away?

I had a filling, but it still hurts!

Most of the tooth decay won’t be giving any symptoms until they affect the pulp.

A tooth filling is the most common dental procedure done to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay, trauma or wear. While the procedure is generally safe and routine, some patients may experience pain or discomfort after the filling is placed. There are some reasons and solutions for pain after a tooth filling.

Reasons for pain after a tooth filling:

  1. Tooth sensitivity: Tooth sensitivity is a common and normal. It is not even a side effect after a tooth filling. This happens because the tooth enamel is removed during the filling procedure, exposing the sensitive dentin layer underneath. The dentin layer(contrary to enamel; have more organic tissue) is filled with microscopic tubules that lead to the tooth’s nerve center, causing sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet or sour foods.
  2. The cleaning method: If the caries is deep, the dentist needs to remove “all the infected tissues”.

In some cases the infected tissues may be very close to the pulp (which is the living part of the tooth, where nerves and blood vessels are in a small room!) While cleaning large and/or deep caries, as the cavity goes deeper we get close to the pulp: AKA nerves of the tooth. In this case a discomfort on the filling is normal up to three weeks (This process is similar to cutting your nail deeply).

Your dentist will seal the cavity floor permenantly with some medical agents as CaOH2 to protect and supress the pain under the filling.  This also makes the pulp of the teeth recede and relieves pain after some time. It creates a secondary dentin layer that will protect your pulp.

If this sensitivity does not go away and even increases over time, it may require the removal of your tooth’s nerves.

  • Filling material irritation: Although a very, very small percentage, some patients may be allergic to certain filling materials or experience an adverse reaction to the chemicals used in the filling process. This can cause inflammation and discomfort around the filling area.
  • Bite misalignment: If the filling is too high or too low, it can cause misalignment in the way the teeth come together, leading to pain and discomfort. Especially when it is high, a premature contact on one tooth means when you close your mouth all the teeth which should be touched each other evenly don’t do that. At one point in all the dental arch touches. This will give a discomfort and pain.
  • Decay or infection: If the decay or infection was severe, it can lead to post-operative pain and discomfort, even after the filling is placed.
  • Pain around the gum: Most of the time before starting the procedure a local anesthesia is applied. While making the injection sometimes the dentist needs to pass certain tissues, like muscles. While the needle goes through these tissues am micro-trauma occurs. After the heal of  those tissues(the areas around the injection) the discomfort or pain swiftly disappears.

Also while making a filling generally a “matrix” is used to clone / mimic the contours of the tooth. This is placed 0.2mm under the gums to create a uniform exit profile for the filling. This naturally makes an irritation around the gums, sometimes causes bleeding. Patients might feel a discomfort for a few days for this reason.

Solutions for pain after a tooth filling:

  1. Tooth sensitivity / cleaning method: Tooth sensitivity can be managed by using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, avoiding hot and cold foods or drinks, and using a soft-bristled toothbrush. In some cases, a desensitizing treatment may be recommended.
  2. Filling material irritation: If you are experiencing an allergic reaction or irritation from the filling material, your dentist may recommend removing the filling and replacing it with a different material.
  3. Bite misalignment : If the filling is causing misalignment, your dentist may need to adjust the filling to correct the problem. In some cases, a bite guard may be recommended to help prevent further damage.
  4. Decay or infection: If the decay or infection was severe, your dentist may recommend additional treatments, such as a root canal or antibiotics to manage the infection.
  5. Pain around the gum: Slightly massage over the area and any paracetamol will reduce the pain. Do not consume acid drinks or too saltly food during the period.

Table of reasons and solutions for pain after a tooth filling:

Reasons for pain after a tooth filling:Solutions for pain after a tooth filling:
Tooth sensitivity / cleaning methodUse toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, avoid hot and cold foods, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and in some cases, a desensitizing treatment may be recommended.
Filling material irritationRemove the filling and replace it with a different material.
Bite misalignmentAdjust the filling to correct the problem and in some cases, a bite guard may be recommended to help prevent further damage.
Decay or infectionAdditional treatments may be recommended, such as a root canal or antibiotics to manage the infection.

In summary, pain after a tooth filling can be caused by a variety of factors, including tooth sensitivity, filling material irritation, bite misalignment, gum irritation and decay or infection. The solutions to these problems vary and depend on the underlying cause of the pain. It is important to speak to your dentist if you are experiencing pain or discomfort after a tooth filling to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

 The reasons to have a filling before its too late:

  1. Having a filling is the easiest way to protect your tooth. Its generally a very minimally invasive treatment; removing the decayed issue and replacing it with ceramic or composite materials.
  2. Most of you (even us, dentists) are scared to sit on the chair. If a cavity is diagnosed in the early stage, the treatment time will be generally one appointment, most of the small fillings can be even done without making any injections.
  3. If the caries is big, then the treatment time on the chair is prolonged. Several injections might be needed. Sometimes one appointment might not be enough.
  4. The costs will increase, a small filling cost is not the same with a root-canal or crown. As a general rule root-canal treatment is done to cavities which involve the pulp of the tooth. After having a root canal treatment most of the dentists will tell you to have crown on top of that tooth. This is because after the pulp is removed the tooth becomes brittle. In some cases where a crown is not made there may be cracks so bad that even in some cases the tooth might need removal.


In order to have a risk free dental treatment, we are here to help, contact us! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the types of treatment available for you, what results you can expect and how long they are likely to last. Before contacting if you want to have more detailed information, visit our tooth filling treatment service page.

You may also want to ask whether there are any risks involved – for example, increasing the sensitivity of your teeth.

We Encourage You to Contact! Via cutting-edge technology and up-to-date cosmetic dentistry innovations, we provide a tailor-made perfect smile that complements your facial features at Istanbul Dental ClinicsTo determine and define your specific dental case, we invite you to contact our highly qualified dental consultation team who will take care of you at all levels!

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Md. Can Tokman
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    Last reviewed by

    Istanbul Dental Clinics medical professionals on 29 March 2023

    As Istanbul Dental Clinics team, we always encourage you to visit your dentist regularly. In order to maintain your oral health, care about your dentals.

    If you have some consideration, questions or in need of consultation, our professionals are ready to help.

    Trust the EDAD esthetic dentist. 

    The EDAD is a professional association of esthetic dentists dedicated to, among other things, “improving the health of the public by promoting quality aesthetic care, the importance of overall oral healthcare, and advocating for the public interest.” Your health and well-being are extremely important.

    Remember that orthodontic treatment is not a product or device – orthodontic treatment is a professional, medical service. When your care is personally supervised by an orthodontist who is a member of the Turkish Academy of Esthetic Dentistry, you are assured that your orthodontist (and/or dentist) spent years in a post-doctoral residency program focused on providing orthodontic treatment to patients.

    Before making any decision about aesthetic dental treatment, consider doing some research and having an in-person consultation with a member of the Turkish Academy of Esthetic Dentistry.


    This is an Internationally recognised, continual evaluation process to provide the highest quality and performance assurance to our patients.

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