There have been many complaints throughout my years as a dental assistant with tooth sensitivity after a composite filling has been placed. Some of these people are not only having sensitivity but horrible pain as well when chewing or drinking hot and cold things. These complaints are very real and 2 out of every 8 patients will have difficulty with the composite fillings placed. Most dentists are boggled by the sensitivity caused by the composite fillings. If they are unable to get the tooth to calm down with adjusting the bite and placing extra flouride around the tooth, they will have to take the composite filling out and replace it or they will put amalgam in its place to see if this will take care of the sensitivity.
You may have come to the dentist for a cleaning and they told you that there was a small cavity, but the tooth had not bothered you at all. But you decide to listen to your dentist and get the cavity taken care of while it is still small. After the filling has been placed, though, you find that the tooth hurts when you try to use it to chew and it is also very sensitive to hot and cold. Now you are frustrated and mad at the dentist for causing you this unnesisary pain! Why did he have to mess with it in the first place– it wasn’t bothering you before!
Truthfully, the dentist did not mean to cause you pain. Sometimes a tooth will flare up any time work is done to it. The filling was necessary after removing the decay, but if the sensitivity is unbearable you may have to go back to either have it replaced or at least adjusted. WE have found that using sensadyne toothpaste really helps with the sensitivity. Just rub the toothpaste on and around the tooth and let it stay on there for a few minutes without rinsing. If the pain and sensitivity continues to get worse, you may need to have the root of the tooth examined to see if it has abcessed. Abcesses after fillings usually only occur if the filling was really deep.
The differences in amalgams versus composite fillings should be explained to you by the dentist before the procedure is completed so you know the risks of sensitivity with the composite fillings. Your dentist can help you with the pros and cons of each type of filling so you can make the best decision for your teeth.