Tooth Pain After Filling – Does This Mean Root Canal?

Having tooth pain after filling is not uncommon and a lot of patients have this complaint. So don’t worry too much if this happens to you. Read on to find out why the problem occurs and what it may mean if it doesn’t clear itself up.

After a filling, you may develop sensitivity to anything hot or cold. It sometimes may even show signs of being sensitive on eating something sweet. Such symptoms usually subside within a few weeks unless there are other related problems. In this, one should avoid the intake of anything that causes the sensitivity! If the problem is very severe then you should visit your dentist, to review it and possibly to prescribe an analgesic.


"Image of woman in pain after filling placed"

Types of tooth pain after filling

Here are some common symptoms:

  1. Sensitivity around the restoration- this type of pain after a filling is most common. Often it will clear itself up, given a week or two. If it lingers longer than that, it may need refilled, perhaps with a different lining material. Otherwise it may be that a symptom of root canal being needed.
  2. Pain on biting- this occurs when a patient bites on food and may linger on for a long time afterwards. This problem usually arises if there is a high point on the filling, so that one tooth is taking the full force of the bite. So, you may need to visit the dentist to get this area reduced a little and the tenderness should quickly subside.
  3. Pain on coming in contact with opposite tooth- this type of tooth pain after filling (‘galvanic shock’) is when a silver amalgam filling on one tooth meets a gold crown placed on the opposing jaw. This is usually not very long-lasting and should subside itself in a few days time.
  4. Prolonged sensitivity- in cases where the filling extends deep down near to the nerve, and there is a prolonged symptoms, chances are that the filling will not suffice. The patient may need to visit the dentist again and get a root canal procedure done.
  5. Referred pain- in this the there is symptoms in other nearby teeth that have had a filling done. This type of problem implies that the filling in your teeth is just fine and the pain will probably subside on its own in a few days.

Time taken for the pain to subside

You should try and persist with the pain for a few days, if it is not too severe. The pain goes down usually after one or two weeks. To get relief you can ask the dentist to prescribe a de-sensitizing paste which you can use. If things do not seem to be clearing up, there is every chance that the filling would need to be taken out and a root canal treatment would follow. This is needed where the original damage was so bad that the filling lies close to the nerve. Note that even if the tooth was not sore beforehand, this is a common occurrence with deep fillings.

Tips to avoid root canal treatment                    

The best thing that you can do to avoid such a scenario is to ensure regular visits to the dentist. This would help as any decay that starts appearing can be treated early, before any major damage is done. You should also brush properly and watch your diet to ensure decay does not set in at all.


So, tooth pain after filling is common. Usually the problem is mild and clears itself up. But if it lingers more than a week or so, or is ever severe, contact your dentist.

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