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A tooth filling is an effective way to eliminate decay and restore the look and function of your tooth. However, after a dental filling, it is common to experience some mild, temporary sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet substances after the numbing agent wears off.

Tooth sensitivity after a dental filling shouldn’t last for more than two to four weeks. If the sensitivity worsens or does not resolve, there may be another reason for your tooth sensitivity, and you should contact our office for an assessment of the tooth.


During a filling procedure, your dentist removes the decayed part of your tooth with a drill and then adds new material to the tooth to rebuild the structure. In some cases, this procedure may inflame the pulp, the central layer of the tooth containing the nerves and blood vessels. This inflammation can lead to an infection called pulpitis.

There are two types of pulpitis: reversible and irreversible. Reversible pulpitis means the pulp heals independently, but the tooth will be sensitive. Irreversible pulpitis means the inflammation is extensive and the pulp cannot heal, and your tooth requires root canal treatment.

Bite Misalignment

Your dentist may ask you to bite down on articulating paper to check your bite alignment during your dental filling treatment. The paper leaves a colored mark on the areas of the tooth that contact the opposite tooth, enabling the dentist to determine which areas need further shaping and polishing to correct the alignment.

However, if your dentist does not remove enough tissue to reduce the friction and contact between the upper and lower teeth, it can create excessive pressure when you bite, chew, and grind food. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and pain.

Nerve Irritation

Your dentist needs to drill further inside the tooth for teeth with deep decay to remove the necrotic tissue. Often, this means drilling close to the tooth’s nerve endings. The heat and friction from the dental drill can irritate nerves.

As the nerves heal, tooth sensitivity and discomfort should resolve; however, it can take six to eight weeks for a tooth nerve to recover with treatment. Treatments include prescription medications and laser therapy.

Allergic Reaction

In rare cases, you may have an allergic reaction to the dental filling material. A 2015 study suggests that amalgam is the most common type of filling material to cause an allergic reaction, although you may experience allergy symptoms due to your dentist’s latex gloves.

To treat an allergic reaction from the filling material, visit your dentist to have your amalgam fillings removed and replaced with tooth-colored composite fillings. This material is hypoallergenic and designed to blend seamlessly with your smile.

Visit Blue Island Smile for High-Quality Dental Fillings

If you have recently had dental fillings and your tooth sensitivity worsens or lasts longer than four weeks, contact Blue Island Smiles at (708) 371-3844. Our experienced dental team can perform a thorough examination to determine the cause of the sensitivity and provide caring, compassionate treatment to eliminate discomfort and restore your oral health.

Be proud of your smile.