Why Your Composite Filling May Ache

If you have gone your entire life without needing a filling, then you may be upset if your dentist suddenly finds a cavity. Do not be too upset. The vast majority of adults have at least one dental filling. In fact, about 91% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have at least one cavity. If you have never had a filling placed in your tooth, then you may notice that the treatment is a bit more painful than you expected. The pain will not be present during the treatment but afterwards. Keep reading to find out why.

Most Cavities Are Close To The Pulp Chamber

The pulp chamber is the living center of your tooth that is rich in blood vessels, soft tissues, and nerves. As you probably know, the nerves inside the tooth sense a number of sensations that occur outside the tooth. For example, you may feel pain sensations when you bite down on something too hard. Strong stimuli create more intense sensations. The most intense stimuli is felt by the tooth when a drill is used to release a cavity. The closer the cavity is to the pulp chamber, the stronger the pain sensations will be. 

Since most cavities reach far into the dentin, they will inevitably be close to the pulp chamber. This causes distress to the tissues, and pain signals may be released for some time after your cavity is placed. The nerves will overreact as well, especially when you consume hot and cold substances. After some time, the overreaction will calm down. In other words, your nerves will realize that there is no immediate danger or a need to release such strong distress signals. 

It will typically take about 10 to 14 days for the sensitivity to reduce, so keep an eye on your discomfort for about two weeks. If the pain does not subside, contact your dental professional.

Gums Are Often Damaged

Many cavities present near the gumline where food and plaque is able to gather. Debris accumulation is particularly troublesome inside the gum pockets. When a cavity forms just above or underneath the gumline, then your dentist will use a drill carefully to release the decay. Unfortunately, the soft tissues are often damaged in the process. 

Gums also may sit next to rough or sharp fillings once your dental professional secured the composite material. This can create some soft tissue pain as well. 

Gums heal incredibly quickly. You may feel some throbbing sensations, sensitivity to hot and cold, and some burning pain when you eat acidic foods. However, the sensations will subside in a few days. If they do not and you see a bit of redness around the tooth, then this is a sign that bacteria have caused an infection issue. Speak with your dental professional about the use of antibiotic rinses to minimize the infection problem.