Pain after filling was done

You Ask: Ouch, now that local has worn off after the filling, my tooth is very sensitive to hot and cold substances and it’s painful when I chew on it. Before you touched it, everything was fine. Did you do something wrong to make it hurt?

The simple answer to this is: No.

You see, this usually happens when the decay on the tooth (cavity) has been discovered at such a late stage that it developed very close to the nerve of the tooth, or if there is a large tooth fracture that went all the way down to the root of the tooth.

When deep decay or tooth fracture has required a deep filling to be placed to treat the tooth, there is always a possibility that the pulp (nerve) of the tooth may have deteriorated beyond its ability to recover.  A deep cavity increases the likelihood that the tooth will require further treatment. The reason is that a cavity is actually a bacterial infection of the tooth, and if bacterial reaches the dental pulp, further treatment may be required.

There are two possible reasons why this can happen:

The first is that bacteria can actually enter the pulp via microscopic openings in the dentin surrounding it, and this may cause an infection of the nerve, resulting in severe pain and the need for further treatment.

The second is that the process of drilling the cavity could irritate the pulp. Due to various factors, it may not completely recover.

However, dentists usually recommend giving the filling a shot when deep decay is detected. The reasoning behind this is that if the dentist leaves the deep cavity alone, the tooth will definitely need further treatment when the decay eventually reaches the pulp. Due to advancement in technology and techniques, the tooth will usually settle down on its own. It is important to realize that even though the pain have settled down, the tooth may still require more treatment at some time in the future.

Signs the Tooth Should Settle

A short lasting hypersensitivity reaction to heat, cold and sometimes pressure, which subsides once the stimulus is removed, is normal following a deep filling. This may last up to a few weeks.

Signs the Tooth May Not Settle

If the hypersensitivity lingers for more than a few minutes, or if the tooth begins to ache without anything particularly setting it off, the chances of the tooth recovering are more doubtful. Try to take painkillers to help ease the pain. If it lingers for a long period of time, then it may be necessary to visit us for further treatment.

Further treatment options

If the tooth consistently gives you unbearable pain, it is time for further treatment options. Only Root Canal Treatment or Extraction can resolve your pain. Do not hesitate in getting help, as it will more than likely not settle down on its own.


The Deep decays on your tooth can be detected and prevented at an early stage with a regular 6 month checkup, in addition to x-rays taken. We highly recommend visiting your dentist on a regular basis and to maintain good oral hygiene habits to help protect your teeth. Call us on (03) 9347 5513 to make an appointment with our experienced dentists.

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