Reasons of Tooth Ache or Pain after Dental Filling

There can be numerous reasons for a patient to have pain after getting dental filling. The reasons for having tooth pain after dental filling can vary from high dental filling for various other reasons. These can reasons for having pain after dental filling are discussed as under.

Tooth Pain due to High Dental Filling

The toothache could be a result of the high dental filling. The periodontal ligament is what supports the tooth by means of binding it to the bone.  When the filling is too high, the tooth gets compressed downwards and is subjected to a lot more pressure. This goes on to make the ligaments tender.


When the tissues in our body are put through stress they tend to get tender. If you work in the hot sun in the garden for a long time then your hands are bound to have strained ligaments and tissues. The extra blood that gets pumped into your hand will allow it to heal the strained ligaments and this makes them appear red and swollen. This is the exact thing that is experienced by the periodontal ligament when it gets compressed much more than usual due to a high filling. The terminology used for these medical phenomena is Symptomatic Apical Periodontitis or Acute Apical Periodontitis.

When the periodontal ligament widens and gets larger it tends to become red and inflamed.  That creates pain when you have a high filling.

Stopping Pain Caused by Symptomatic Apical Periodontitis

If you want to go ahead and stop the pain, then what you need to do is to remove the thing that causes pain. The moment you feel any kind of pain in your tooth the first thing that you should think of is calling the dentist.  If you find that the pain persists then you need to ask your dentist to check the bite. This will allow you to be able to ensure that the filling is of the right size. If not then the filling will be ground down to the right size.

How long will the pain after filling will persist?

The first thing that the dentist needs to do is to size the filling and in order to do that they need to ground it down. Thereafter, the periodontal ligament will need some time to heal itself from the trauma that it has undergone.

The healing process usually takes about two weeks. After two weeks if the pain still persists then you do need to visit the dentist as this is a clear sign of something being wrong with your teeth. Then, the dentist needs to further ascertain and find out.

There are several folks who might have Symptomatic Apical Periodontitis because of the filling being too high. This is when they need to go back to the dentist and have it set right. Once the filling is the right size they will certainly have no pain and feel better.

There are people who hold back from calling their dentist. However, if you are not comfortable with the filling or need it to be re-sized then you need not feel embarrassed about voicing it to them.

Tooth hurts after a White filling or Composite Dental Filling

The first thing that is noticeable is that the filling should fit just right and your tooth shouldn’t hurt. If the pain persists then you need to go to the dentist and find out the reasons. The white filling can result in pain in the tooth for several reasons which are:

Polymerization Shrinkage of a Composite or White Dental Filling

Composites or white fillings tend to shrink a wee bit when they harden.  That is the reason why the dentist will place the material into the cavity in a liquid or pasty form. Then they will use a strong light like LED or Halogen which will help to immediately harden the material.  Now, in case the composite material is not placed correctly in the tooth and especially in the case of a composite filling then it will shrink to result in a gap that goes on to form around the filling. It could even pull the tooth together.  This will further result in the tooth becoming sensitive to hot and cold.

What if the Composite used is way too large?

The way composite fillings work is to be really good materials for small fillings. The moment the filling becomes larger, such as 1/3 the distance, between the cusps or more than 2 surfaces it is not strong enough.

Composite material is not made to be strong enough to work like tooth structure.  If a composite is used for the large filling then it will result in the tooth bending, the composite will wear off or have a fracture, and finally it will result in a failure of the filling treatment.  This in turn will require further treatment that is of a longer duration.  

How to Increase the Life of Dental Filling

There are a few kinds of fillings that can last for a real long time. However, usually an amalgam filling has a lifespan of about 12 years and that of a composite filling is less than that.

The first visit to a dentist will entail a thorough examination of your fillings. This is usually done at every checkup visit. In case the dentist suspects a crack, leak or something amiss in the filling then you might be advised an X-ray.

When is it the right time to visit the dentist?

  • Sensitivity in the tooth
  • A crack in the tooth
  • The filling has fallen off

A good idea is to go to a dentist frequently for cleanings, brush with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day to ensure that you are able to increase the lifespan of your fillings.

In case of several fillings or very large fillings, your dentist may recommend that you go ahead and use a fluoride gel. The fluoride gel when used at home will enable in strengthening the teeth enamel. This will serve as a safety net for you against any future cavities. There is another way to protect your teeth and that is with the application of fluoride varnish around the edges of these teeth at your dental checkups.

Replacing a Filling

When you need to have a filling replaced the first thing is the discussion with the dentist about the possible treatment options that are available to you and their outcomes. You can go on and let the dentist evaluate the cavity and what kind of filling it will need. Also, you will be able to discuss the right material for your kind of filling.


 User Comments on -  Reasons of Tooth Ache or Pain after Dental Filling

Sort By :   

Posted By : My aching jaw on 05-May-2015 03:52 PM
Had the filling in my next to last right lower fall out so I had it replaced yesterday. The dentist did some sanding and painted the surface with something before putting in a new white filling. It was not hurting before I went to the dentist. Started hurting while the dentist was doing the sanding, and now my jaw is hurting. Pain seems to subside some when I apply pressure to my jaw in the spot where the tooth is located. Any suggestions what might be going on?? Recommendations about what I should do??

Posted By : Bhiya on 20-Jan-2015 12:20 PM
Hi , I had cavities in right lower molar teeth , my dentist filled them but even during filling I was experiencing pain. Now it has been 5 days but still I can't eat comfortably from rt side .... N after eating I get pain .. I went to dentist for bite adjustment he checked n he sad it's normal ... So plz tell me a is it I get a constant diffuse mild pain ...,??that is more wd eating n if it's normal how long I hv to wait... N should I start any painkillers

Posted By : milton on 16-Jan-2015 09:52 AM
I had an exam in october 2014. The dentist at this clinic said I needed 4 fillings ans 2 root canals. They did not do root canals, so she wanted to do 6 extractions! I disagreed! so I asked for another dentist! I asked them to just do the fillings and I would go elswhere for the root canals, which i did and had no problems with the root canals elsewhere. I returned to a diffrent dentist at the clinic and she wanted to justify the first dentist opinions. I argued with her and the supervisor told her to just do fillings for me. She filled the wrong tooth #15, 15 was not on the list for fillings! there was no decay on the xray for #15! After her filling: I now have a numb or burning sensation from #15 going up my cheek to my eyes! It is now 10 days and this numb or burning sensation has not gone away! I think she deliberately drilled into a root! How do I tell if this is tempory? should I have an exam from another dentist? Should I go back to the dentist who did this painful filling? Is this malpractice? How should I proceed?

Posted By : Shelly on 01-Jun-2014 08:31 AM
I had a root canal done years ago & recently it broke. The dentist was going to extract the tooth but then decided to save it by refilling. I had no pain before but a day after I started experiencing a throbbing pain. Its effecting the whole one side & I can't chew on it.

Posted By : sandra on 19-Feb-2014 06:25 PM
Hi i had my filling done about 4 months ago. Did not feel any pain until tooth was fixed. I went back several times and had it ex rayed, but dentist saw nothing wrong. Bite is good. But now he wants to perform root canal?!?! I contacted another dentist who said not to do that. I cant afford another exray, exam... how to fix this problem, pls help!!!!!

Posted By : 19bogs33 on 13-Feb-2014 04:35 PM
I just want to let somebody knows that 2-3weeks of pain fr the filling is not really worse than i been experiencing. I had filling in my molar tooth & it was done 1st week of Dec, last year & still I am on pain. I been recommended by my Dr. to see the root canal specialist & I did went & been checked. Nothing was wrong, then I was adviced to just wait tell it healed. My gums never swelled up, no antibiotics, the Dr. just prescribed me for pain ( 600 mg ibuprofen), that was when I came back for 2nd time & complained about the pain. Then, I tried to eat in the side when the filling was done, that was the pain triggered again. I felt all of my tooth were on pain, well I came back to the Dentist again today 2/13/14 & told them to checked the filling as I felt it was high, seriously why in the world they didn't checked my biting really well, 3x's going to the dentist if I didn't told them to checked my bite they didn't do it, now I felt much better. I like to find another Dentist but they were so freaking nice so I may stay to them. Just crossing my fingers not to be in pain again.

Posted By : Someone on 31-Dec-2013 12:49 PM
My tooth hurts when biting down about 1month after filling. HELP!

Posted By : Savannah on 20-Oct-2013 05:58 PM
I got my tooth filled about 6 years ago and it just started to hurt really bad yesturday. I looked at my tooth and it's kind of brown in the corner. I've even been putting ice packs and heating pads on it but I just dot know what to do with this pain. Any suggestions or what I should do?! Thank you!

Posted By : Jessica on 14-Sep-2013 05:08 PM
I had two fillings done a week ago and the pain to my teeth are getting worse instead of better. Even the tooth I had pulled completely out didn't hurt this bad. I normally have a high pain tolerance (kids completely natural no pain killers) but this I want to pull my teeth out myself. I can pin point where the pain is by touching the sensitive area. I have tried salt water, orajel, and hot compress. What am I missing?I am afraid either I am needing antibotics or a root cannel. I do know she said the cavity was deep because I did not take care of it quickly. Before she messed with it it did not hurt at all. Hope that is enough information to lead you in an answer for me.

Posted By : Tamara on 13-Sep-2013 03:50 PM
I got a deep filling a week ago, and I still have a sore cheek/jaw and cheek seems abit swollen. Tooth isn't sensitive but can't eat firm food on it. Should I wait another week before going back to dentist.

Posted By : Laura on 05-Sep-2013 05:23 PM
I am 2 weeks post fillings and still having pain. I had cavities between the 2 back teeth in the upper and lower part of my mouth and then another small cavity in the back of my bottom back tooth. The pain usually lessens with Ibuprofen which I need to take every 4 to 6 hours. I just saw a dentist today and they said that after several tests and x-rays they can't find anything wrong. They said that the pain will either get better or get worse. They said if there is pain they aren't sure which tooth it is coming from. One of the fillings is so filed down that it only has 3 points instead of 4 but they checked my bite and they said that nothing is wrong with it. Do you have any idea what is causing this pain? I hate being in pain.

Posted By : Dr. Ritz on 22-Aug-2013 08:15 PM
Paula, normally after filling the tooth settles down within 2-3 days with max of a week. The pain and sensitivity gradually starts decreasing and if it is increasing then that means that your cavity is quite deep and pulp is infected. If it does not subside or does not gradually start decreasing then you have to go for Root Canal Treatment.

Posted By : Paula on 19-Aug-2013 06:07 AM
Hello, I had my composite white filling done a week ago and still experiencing sharp pain which subsides with OTC painkillers (Ibuprofen, Paracetamol). Is there anything wrong with my tooth, shall I wait for longer? How long does it take for tooth to recover after filling? Many thanks

Posted By : bob on 16-Aug-2013 06:03 AM
Dear Doc , I have a pain in my filling, can I take Nurofen (pain relief) ?

Posted By : Dr. Ritz on 05-Jul-2013 06:15 AM
Some times when the filling is high it causes trauma to the periodontal ligament and the tooth hurts. You got the bite adjusted . wait for another week and let it heal. If the pain doen not subsides then you can go to the dentist. Avoid eating from that side for couple of days and maintain good oral hygiene. The traumatized ligament will heal.

Posted By : Matt on 26-Jun-2013 06:35 PM
Hi, it has been 1 week and my new composite filling still hurts when I chew on any food that is somewhat hard or if I push down on filling area with finger hard enough. The fillings are between my bottom left two molars(18&19). The doctor showed me X-rays and said they were not large enough for root canals. 2 days after fillings I had my bite adjusted and still hurt. Then about 4 days after that he adjusted them again and told me to get back with him in 2 weeks. I still can't chew on that area. Not sensitive to hot or cold just chewing. Did I irritate my periodontal ligament to much? The pain is sharp only on chewing. Thanks !!

Posted By : Dr. Rtiz on 26-May-2013 09:41 AM

CJ, If the symptoms are subsiding with time then you can wait for another week or two otherwise you may also have to under root canal treatment for the tooth.


Posted By : CJ on 24-May-2013 08:38 AM
Hi. I have the same problem as Boopie. Had a filling replaced and new one on reae right side. Went back to dentist he shaved a portion at week 2 was told muscle maybe site take aleve. My Jaw still hurts when I stretch tooth only little sensitive.

Posted By : Dr. Rtiz on 03-Apr-2013 08:25 PM
Hi Boopie, If sensitivity and pain is there then it can be due to some decay or may be some gum problem as cleaning the third molar area is difficult. You have to go to dentist and get is examined. Sometimes if gum problem is there and decay is not there even then sensitivity and pain is there, when we take something hot n cold as roots are exposed

Posted By : boopie on 03-Apr-2013 08:17 AM
I recently had 2 filling done on my rigth side, it's been about 2-3 weeks already ... i decided to go in to see the dentist and he took x-rays and said he dosent see anything , i told him my jaw hurst when i open it and sometimes i get pain in my teeth ... dentist said he saw nothing on the x-rays ??? is this normal

Posted By : Dr.Ritz on 05-Mar-2013 03:05 AM

It looks that the filling was very deep and it is quite close to the pulp. That is why you are having the sensitivity or that filling is high. If after 2 weeks also you are having pain then go to the dentist and discuss with him. He will do the X-ray and if the filling is very deep then may be you have to get the root canal treatment done on that tooth.


Posted By : Dr.Ritz on 05-Mar-2013 02:57 AM

No , if the pain is there even after 2 weeks of filling and still the swelling is there then it is not normal. May be some tooth is infected or it can be because of the high filling. Visit your dentist and find out the cause of the pain and swelling.


Posted By : christina on 03-Mar-2013 09:59 AM
Hi I had 4 cavity's filled on the right top side and one was really big I guess and I went back and they adjusted my bite but i received 2 more fillings that day on the lower right side so my bite is still off and the throbbing is still there. Its going on two weeks now and the pain has gone into my cheek bone and the right side of my tongue is swell. does this sound normal?

Posted By : Charles on 27-Feb-2013 08:26 PM
Hi, my old fillings started to break down, so I needed to get them replaced with white fillings. I've gotten 2 the 1 was pretty deep and took some drilling, a week later I get my other one, but the first one still hurted. The 2 one was quick took a little bit of drilling and it doesn't hurt right now. But the 1st one is still in pain, constant but not that bad. Everything time I drink something cold it hurts really bad. And I got that filling 2 weeks ago. Is it normal to have a constant toothache?

Posted By : Dr.Ritz on 04-Feb-2013 11:13 PM

Yes, it looks like the tooth is healing. As the pain is decreasing. You can wait for another week. Because of the high filling the tooth is traumatized and it will take some time for the tissues to heal. Till then avoid eating any thing hard from that side and maintain very good oral hygiene.


 Post your Comments