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Does a Dental Filling Procedure Hurt?
If you develop a cavity, a dentist will likely recommend a dental filling, which is a routine procedure. A cavity is tooth decay caused by bacteria, and it happens when the hard surface of a tooth is damaged. Some patients may be skittish about getting a cavity filled because they are worried the procedure may be painful. However, as a dentist can explain, the truth is that the earlier a cavity is filled and tooth decay is corrected, the less painful the treatment will be.
Pain management during fillings
Dentists can use medication to numb parts of the mouth during a dental filling procedure, so patients typically feel little or no pain. However, they stay awake during the process and are able to communicate with the dentist to explain any needs that arise.
Patient comfort is a top priority during the procedure. After the filling is placed, the patient's mouth may feel numb for a few hours. The feeling of numbness gradually subsides as the effects of the medication wear off. The dentist may advise patients to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours to avoid accidentally biting the mouth or tongue.
Fillings can cause sensitivity
Once the numb feeling is gone, new sensations may develop. One common sensation is sensitivity around the area of the filled tooth. Over-the-counter or prescribed medication can deal with the soreness.
A patient should take it easy right after getting a filling and not put too much pressure on the filled tooth. There are also things to avoid doing immediately after the procedure to prevent pain. These include avoiding cold drinks, sugary foods, and acidic drinks and foods such as juice and coffee.
What to do if sensitivity gets worse
If the pain continues for more than a week, this could be a sign of a larger problem. Some of the more common problems after a dental filling procedure include an irritated nerve and incorrect bite alignment. Call a dentist if experiencing symptoms of any of these common problems.
A filling procedure can sometimes inadvertently cause inflammation in the nerve inside the treated tooth. The discomfort should go away as the nerve heals, but this may take a few days or possibly even weeks.
If the cavity filling is too tall, this can cause extra pressure when the patient bites down. Contact the dentist if more severe pain occurs when biting. Bite alignment can be corrected by smoothing down the high point of the filling.
A cavity-filling procedure does not usually cause much pain during or after the procedure is done. Patients can expect to feel mild sensitivity and discomfort in the filled tooth for a few days following the procedure. Much of this mild discomfort can be treated with basic precautions like brushing with toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Call the dentist immediately if the sensitivity worsens or makes eating difficult, or if symptoms like severe toothache or a fever develop.
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