Understanding Why Your Tooth May Be Sensitive After A Filling Treatment

If you have recently discovered a large cavity in one of your teeth and have worked with your dentist to have the cavity removed and filled, then you may be surprised to notice that your tooth is extremely sensitive after the treatment. This is common. If you want to know why this happens, then keep reading.

Uneven Bite

If you are feeling pain after a filling has been placed in one of your teeth, then there is a good chance that the filling is too high or too large. This means that composite material is protruding to some degree and interfering with your bite. If you notice your filled tooth hitting against another tooth as you chew, then this is probably what you are experiencing. When the filling hits, this places stress on the tooth and pressure is exerted against the dental nerve. The nerve responds by releasing strong pain sensations.

Your dentist will use something called articulating paper to check your bite after your filling treatment is over. As you bite down on the paper, black or blue marks are left on the teeth where your bite meets. Your dentist will use his drill to remove some of the composite filling material in these areas so you can bite and chew normally. The professional will drill conservatively and may inadvertently leave too much composite behind. While a small amount of the composite may wear away as you continue to chew and bite, your dentist may need to remove more of the composite to adjust your bite properly. Make arrangements to see your dentist so the filling can be assessed.


The act of drilling during the filling treatment causes vibrations to move through the tooth. These movements can cause stress to the pulp that sits in the middle of your tooth. As the pulp is stressed, the tissues swell and press against the pulp chamber. This places pressure on the dental nerve and creates a great deal of discomfort. The tissue swelling is called pulpitis and the inflammation typically reduces significantly over time as the tooth heals. 

As the tooth heals itself, you will feel less and less pain and soreness. It can take several weeks for the inflammation to reduce completely, so be patient as you wait for the dental problem to resolve. If the issue does not seem to go away, then there is a chance that the tooth is unable to heal itself. You will need a root canal in this case to remove the distressed pulp. Make sure to meet with your dentist if you notice the pain condition worsening or failing to resolve itself within a few weeks.  Places like Justice Dental can also help you determine what the problem is.