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Here at MyDentist West Ryde we often encounter patients wanting to know “do dental fillings hurt?” 

It’s not an unreasonable question and the simple answer is that dental fillings should never hurt although you may feel an element of dental pain leading up to the procedure and some discomfort after the tooth has been filled.   

 

What do we mean by dental pain?

Dental pain is defined as an uncomfortable sensation that relates to the tooth or surrounding structures. Often a cavity can cause pain and discomfort and for some patients, it’s the thought that the pain may increase. Naturally that makes them wary of tooth fillings.  

The thing to remember is that dental fillings will relieve any discomfort or dental pain and make your tooth healthier. 

Knowledge is power and knowing what to expect during a tooth filling procedure will help prepare you for what’s to come. Our dentists are committed to providing comfortable and affordable tooth fillings for our patients so without further ado let’s get acquainted with the procedure. 

 

Dental Filling Procedure – What You Can Expect? 

Sometimes your dentist may find that you need a tooth filling during a routine check-up but more often it’s discomfort, sensitivity, or toothache that causes a person to seek treatment from their dentist. 

Pain at this stage may range from a tooth feeling extremely sensitive, particularly when it comes into contact with hot and cold temperatures to a severe throbbing toothache.

A local anaesthetic is usually given to patients undergoing dental fillings. This is normally administered by injection and numbs the area of the mouth where the dentist will be working.

Although you may feel slight pressure during the procedure, you won’t feel any pain. Our dentist will always check how numb your mouth is before starting work.

What type of dental fillings are used?

The ‘go-to’ type of tooth fillings that are popular with most dentists, including ourselves, are white composite fillings. Unlike the old-style amalgam dental fillings, these are mercury-free, blend into the smile flawlessly, and are safe to use. 

The material used for white composite fillings comes in various shades, so the first step will be to use a shade guide and pick one that’s a close match for the tooth being worked on. 

During the procedure, the tooth will be isolated with a dental dam or small rubber sheet to prevent saliva from getting into the cavity. (Composite tooth fillings need to be kept dry or they won’t stick properly).

A drill will be used to remove any decayed material and, where necessary, the cavity will be shaped. 

An etching solution is then placed over the area to be filled, left for a short while and then rinsed off. This is followed by a bond layer which helps the composite to adhere. This is then set with a blue light. 

The composite material is then layered into the cavity with each layer hardened by shining a ‘curing light’ on to it.  

Once the cavity is full, the filling is buffed and polished to fit in seamlessly with the tooth and the bite is checked. And that’s it, you’re good to go. 

 

So, getting back to the question “do dental fillings hurt?

If you remember, we mentioned at the start of the article that there may be some discomfort after dental fillings have been placed.

You may still be under the influence of local anaesthetic when you leave the clinic and as this starts to ease off, it’s normal for your tooth to feel slightly sensitive, possibly for a week or more.

Brushing with a toothpaste for sensitive teeth will help things to settle down and taking over the counter medication should ease any pain, although most patients find they don’t need painkillers at all following dental fillings.

Why do tooth fillings feel sensitive?

If the cavity is near to a tooth root then this could be the cause of an irritation. But generally speaking, any pain felt before the tooth was filled should have improved, not gotten worse. 

If you find yourself in pain you should speak to your dentist right away. It may be that the filling has been placed too high in the mouth and this can put pressure on the bite. 

Your dentist can adjust the filling for a more natural feeling in the mouth. Sometimes, it’s not until the anaesthetic wears off that you realise there’s an issue.

 

So how painful are tooth fillings?

Dental fillings should never be painful. Even if you’re suffering pain when you arrive at the dentist, once you’ve received a local anaesthetic you won’t feel a thing. The cavity will be cleaned and any infected material which caused the discomfort will be removed. 

If you’re particularly worried about dental pain, you can always take a couple of Ibuprofen before the anaesthetic wears off, to ease any discomfort that may be felt. 

So now you have the answer to the question “do dental fillings hurt?” hopefully, you will see that there really is nothing to worry about. Getting early treatment is always recommended to prevent any infection from spreading and causing further damage. 

So, if you think you may need one or more tooth fillings, then get in touch with the friendly experienced dental team at MyDentist West Ryde by calling us at (02) 8073 9338 today.