Tooth Sensitivity After A Filling: What is Normal & What NOT! 2023

Last Updated: 20 November 2023

Have you ever experienced that sharp, unexpected pain in your teeth after a dental filling? The sudden discomfort and sensitivity can surprise you, leaving you wondering what’s causing it and how to regain your comfort.

But don’t worry!

This article is your key to understanding and addressing the issue of tooth sensitivity after a filling. We’ll explore the causes behind this common dental concern, the signs and symptoms you might encounter, and, most importantly, how to alleviate the discomfort. Let’s get straight into it.

Table of Contents

Tooth Sensitivity After A Filling

Tooth sensitivity after receiving a dental filling is not uncommon and can be a concern for many patients. This sensitivity primarily stems from the fact that the procedure can irritate the nerve inside the tooth.

The type of filling material used, such as composite or amalgam, the size and depth of the filling, and the technique adopted by the dentist can all influence the degree of sensitivity experienced.

Immediate sensitivity post-filling usually results from the heat generated during the drilling process or from the filling being placed too close to the nerve.

In most cases, the sensitivity fades away within a few days to a couple of weeks. However, if it persists or becomes more intense, it might be an indication of other underlying issues like a high filling, which means the filling is higher than the surrounding tooth surface, or a situation called pulpitis, which is the inflammation of the dental pulp tissue. It’s crucial for patients to reach out to their dentist if they experience prolonged sensitivity or pain, as it could require adjustment or further dental procedures.

Why Have Tooth Sensitivity After a Filling?

To truly understand the causes of tooth sensitivity after a dental filling, we must grasp the fundamental purpose of dental fillings – the treatment of cavities. Dental fillings are not just routine dental procedures; they serve the following critical purposes:

Cavity Treatment

Dental fillings are a fundamental weapon in the battle against cavities caused by tooth decay. These cavities result from gradually destroying the tooth’s structure due to the relentless onslaught of bacteria and acidic substances.

The filling process begins with the precise removal of the decayed portion of the tooth, ensuring that only a pristine, healthy tooth structure remains. This step is not just about aesthetics but is a vital strategy to prevent further decay and, more importantly, to restore the tooth’s structural integrity. (1)

Tooth Sensitivity 6 Weeks After Filling

Experiencing tooth sensitivity six weeks after a dental filling is not uncommon, but it might raise some concerns.

Possible Causes of Tooth Sensitivity Six Weeks After a Filling:

Normal Healing Process: In some cases, mild sensitivity can persist for several weeks as your tooth continues to heal and adapt to the new filling. The initial irritation caused by the dental work may take time to resolve completely.

Secondary Decay: In some instances, decay might develop around the edges of the filling. This can lead to sensitivity and should be addressed promptly by your dentist.

Tooth Sensitivity Months After Filling

Feeling tooth sensitivity several months after a dental filling can be pretty problematic, but it’s not an unusual occurrence. There can be various underlying causes for this discomfort, and here’s what you can do to address it:

Normal Post-Treatment Sensitivity

The sensitivity you feel may be a regular part of the healing process. Dental fillings can irritate the tooth’s pulp and nerves, causing temporary sensitivity. This should improve within a few weeks to a couple of months.

New Cavities or Recurrent Decay

Sometimes, new cavities can develop near or under the existing filling, or recurrent decay can occur. This can cause pain and sensitivity. A dental examination and X-rays can determine when tooth filling hurts after months.

Filling Sensitive After 4 Months

Tooth filling sensitivity after 4 months is not normal. Tooth sensitivity after a filling should subside within a few weeks.

There are several possible reasons why your tooth filling might hurt after four months. One possibility is that the filling is too high or too low, causing it to apply pressure on the surrounding teeth.

Another possibility is that the filling has become cracked, letting bacteria enter the tooth and cause infection. Sometimes, tooth sensitivity after a filling can also signify a deeper problem, such as a nerve infection or abscess. So, you should keep observing.

Filling Sensitive 2 Weeks After Filling

It’s not uncommon to experience sensitivity in a tooth after a dental filling, especially in the first few weeks. This sensitivity is typically temporary and can be caused by various factors:

Tooth Trauma

The process of preparing a tooth for a filling can sometimes cause minor trauma to the tooth’s nerves. This trauma can lead to temporary sensitivity. (2)

Pulp Inflammation

In most cases, the dental pulp (the innermost part of the tooth) may become inflamed or irritated during the filling procedure, causing sensitivity. (3)

Filling Material

The type of filling material used can affect sensitivity. Tooth-colored composite fillings are more prone to causing sensitivity compared to silver amalgam fillings. (4)

The Tooth is Still Sore after Filling

Here are the following reasons why that is happening to you.

High Filling

If the filling is too high and interferes with your bite, it can lead to ongoing discomfort. Your dentist can adjust the filling to ensure a proper bite alignment.

Pulp Irritation

If the dental pulp was significantly irritated during the filling procedure, it might require more healing time. Sometimes, pulp inflammation can persist, necessitating root canal treatment.

Tooth Fracture

A tooth may have an undetected fracture that becomes more apparent after the filling. This can lead to persistent pain.

Want A Graceful Smile without Hurting Your Filling OR Causing Sensitivity?

Toothache At Night After Filling

There are plenty of reasons why you have terrible tooth pain after filling. Here are some of the common factors that you should look for.

Blood Flow

Blood flow to the head typically escalates when you lie down, which can lead to increased blood pressure in the sensitive and inflamed area of the tooth. This heightened pressure can intensify the pain and make it more noticeable at night.

Reduced Distractions

During the day, you’re often engaged in various activities and distractions, which can reduce your awareness of tooth pain. At night, when you’re trying to sleep, and the environment is quieter, you may be more focused on the discomfort, making it feel more pronounced.

Jaw and Tooth Pain After Filling

Some people often suffer from jaw and tooth pain due to uncommon reasons. The following are some of the hidden factors that lead to such a condition.

Muscle Tension or TMJ Issues

Jaw and facial muscle tension or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems can cause jaw pain, which may be felt as tooth pain. These issues can result from stress, injury, or other factors. 

Stress or Clenching

Stress, anxiety, or habits like teeth grinding (bruxism) can cause excessive pressure on the teeth and jaw, leading to pain, especially after dental work. If you grind your teeth, you may utilize a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth.

Tooth Filling Sensitive to Pressure

You may also feel tooth filling sensitive to pressure due to the following reasons: 

Gum Recession

Receding gums can expose the tooth’s sensitive root surfaces. Pressure on these exposed areas can lead to sensitivity. Your dentist can recommend treatments to address gum recession. 

Filling Seal Issues

Sometimes, the filling doesn’t completely seal the tooth, allowing irritants to get inside. This can lead to sensitivity when you put pressure on the tooth. Your dentist can address this by replacing the filling or using other treatments.

Relieve Tooth Pain After Filling

These tips are the best partner for you to eliminate pain effectively. 

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

You can take OCT pain relievers such as ibuprofen & acetaminophen to reduce pain and inflammation.

Rinse with Saltwater

Gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in half a cup of warm water and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds. This can help soothe any irritation.

Avoid Trigger Foods

Steer clear of extremely hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages that can trigger or exacerbate tooth pain.

Soft Diet

Opt for more delicate foods that don’t require much chewing to reduce pressure on the tooth. Soups, mashed potatoes, and yogurt are good options.

Common Symptoms and Signs of Tooth Sensitivity After A Filling 

Tooth sensitivity after a dental filling can be a rather unsettling experience. It’s essential to recognize and understand the range of symptoms associated with it:

Temperature Sensitivity

The most common symptom is a heightened sensitivity to temperature changes. You might experience sudden, sharp pain when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages. That enjoyable sip of your morning coffee or a bite of ice cream can trigger this discomfort.

Biting Sensitivity

Another sign is discomfort while biting down on hard foods. A seemingly harmless crunch into an apple or other hard foods can result in a twinge of pain. 

Air Sensitivity

Even breathing in cold air, particularly during colder months, can be challenging. If you’ve ever breathed and felt a sudden discomfort, you might be experiencing air sensitivity. 

Sweet Sensitivity

While less common, sensitivity to sugary foods and drinks is possible. It may present as a brief, sharp response to sweets. A sip of soda or a bite of a sugary treat might trigger this type of discomfort.

Pain During Brushing

Brushing your teeth, a crucial part of your oral hygiene routine, can become an uncomfortable experience, primarily if you use cold water or cold toothpaste. This may cause brief, sharp pain that can be disconcerting.

Differentiating Between Normal Post-Filling Discomfort and Excessive Sensitivity

It’s important to distinguish between typical post-filling discomfort and excessive sensitivity that might require attention.

Here are some guidelines to differentiate:


Normal post-filling discomfort, such as mild sensitivity to hot or cold, usually subsides within a few days to a few weeks. As the tooth heals, you’ll notice a gradual improvement. However, if the sensitivity persists beyond this timeframe, it’s a signal that further evaluation is needed. 


A mild, temporary twinge of sensitivity is generally normal. It’s your body’s way of adjusting to the dental work. However, if the discomfort is severe, worsening, or particularly bothersome, it’s essential to consult your dentist. Excessive sensitivity can indicate complications that require professional assessment and potentially an adjustment of the filling. 

Pain-Free Eating

In cases of normal post-filling discomfort, you should still be able to eat and drink without significant hindrance. You may experience minor sensitivity, but it shouldn’t disrupt your daily routine. If you find yourself avoiding certain foods or experiencing pain during routine activities like eating and drinking, it’s a sign that something might be amiss and needs professional attention. 


Normal post-filling sensitivity often improves gradually. If you notice a consistent level of pain without any signs of improvement, it’s crucial to consult your dentist. This persistent discomfort may indicate issues with the filling or an underlying dental problem that requires further investigation.

Tips for Reducing the Risk of Tooth Sensitivity After A Filling

Preventing tooth sensitivity after a dental filling is achievable and crucial for a comfortable and pain-free experience.

Let’s explore practical strategies that can help you minimize the risk of sensitivity:

Proper Dental Hygiene:

Regular Brushing and Flossing: Your everyday brushing and flossing routine is your first and foremost defense against post-filling sensitivity. Brush your teeth at least twice daily, and don’t forget to floss daily. This keeps plaque and food particles in check, which can otherwise contribute to decay and sensitivity.

Gentle Brushing: It’s not about being vigorous; it’s about being thorough. Select a toothbrush with soft bristles, and brush gently to safeguard your teeth and dental work from unnecessary wear and tear.

Desensitizing Toothpaste: Consider using a desensitizing toothpaste, especially if you’ve had issues with sensitivity before. These toothpaste, often recommended by dentists, can help ease sensitivity and strengthen your tooth enamel.

Filling Material Selection:

  • Consult Your Dentist: Before your filling procedure, have a heart-to-heart with your dentist about the choice of filling material. They are your best source of advice on which material is most suitable for your unique needs.
  • Composite Resin Fillings: If you’re concerned about post-filling sensitivity, you might lean toward composite resin fillings. These are tooth-colored and have insulating properties that can help reduce temperature-related sensitivity.
  • Amalgam Fillings: Amalgam fillings are known for their durability but can conduct temperature changes more effectively. If you prefer amalgam, ensure that you maintain excellent oral hygiene, and don’t hesitate to consult your dentist for tips on minimizing sensitivity.

FAQs about Tooth Sensitivity after A Filling

Is tooth sensitivity normal after a filling?

Yes, it’s perfectly normal to experience tooth sensitivity after a dental filling. When you get a filling, your dentist removes the damaged part of your tooth and fills it with a restorative material.

This process can sometimes irritate the nerves in your tooth, leading to sensitivity. You might notice this sensitivity when you eat or drink something hot, cold, sweet, or acidic.

The good news is that this sensitivity is usually temporary. It’s like your tooth is going through an adjustment period.

What causes tooth sensitivity after a filling?

  • Tooth structure alteration during filling
  • Temporary irritation of tooth nerves
  • Minor inflammation in the tooth pulp

How long does teeth sensitivity last after filling?

Tooth sensitivity after a filling typically lasts for 2-4 weeks. However, it can last longer, especially if the filling is deep or close to the nerve. But it may also be dependent on some other factors based on the patient’s individual oral health and dentist’s experience. Hence, you shouldn’t be worried about that.

Why are my teeth sensitive after a filling?

Tooth sensitivity after a filling occurs because the dental procedure can temporarily irritate the tooth’s nerves. The filling process involves removing decayed or damaged tooth material and replacing it with a filling material. This alteration of the tooth’s structure and the materials used can affect the tooth’s sensitivity, making it more responsive to stimuli like temperature changes, pressure, or certain foods and beverages.

Is it normal to have a toothache after a filling?

While some level of sensitivity or discomfort is standard after a dental filling, experiencing a significant toothache after a filling is not typical and may indicate an issue. The discomfort immediately after a filling can be due to the dental procedure, such as minor irritation of the tooth’s nerves. However, if the pain is severe, persistent, or worsens, it could be a sign of a problem that should be addressed.

How long does tooth pain last after a filling?

Tooth pain after a filling can vary in exact duration and intensity depending on several factors, including the type and size of the filling, the condition of the tooth before the filling, and your pain tolerance. Here are some general guidelines:

Immediate Post-Procedure Pain: It’s common to experience some sensitivity or discomfort immediately after getting a filling, especially if the filling is deep or close to the nerve of the tooth. This discomfort is often due to the trauma of the procedure itself and should subside within a few hours to a couple of days.

Sensitivity to Hot and Cold: It’s not unusual to have increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods or beverages for a few days to a couple of weeks after a filling. This sensitivity typically diminishes over time.

Pain from the Filling Procedure: If the filling is large, deep, or close to the nerve, you may experience mild to moderate pain for a few days to a couple of weeks. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage this discomfort.

How to stop toothache after filling?

Following are some ways to stop toothache after filling:

Avoid chewing on the affected tooth: Give the tooth some rest and avoid chewing on it as much as possible. You can shift your chewing to the other side of your mouth.

Use a desensitizing toothpaste: Consider using a toothpaste specifically designed to alleviate tooth sensitivity. These toothpaste products can help reduce pain by blocking nerve signals.

Why is my tooth so sensitive after a filling?

Following are some fo the common reasons of so sensitive teeth after a filling:

Infection or Pulpitis: In some cases, a filling may not completely seal the tooth, allowing bacteria to enter, leading to an infection or inflammation of the pulp (the innermost part of the tooth). This can cause increased sensitivity and may require further treatment.

Reversible Pulpitis: If the tooth was very close to requiring a root canal due to inflammation or infection of the pulp, the filling may not completely resolve the issue. In such cases, you may experience prolonged sensitivity, and additional treatment may be necessary.

What causes severe tooth pain after fillings?

Inadequate Seal: If the filling does not seal the tooth appropriately, bacteria can enter, causing pain and infection.

Overly Large Fillings: Large fillings may stress the tooth, potentially leading to pain.

When should I worry about a toothache after a filling?

Following are some situations when you need to worry about a toothache after a filling.

Severe or Prolonged Pain: If the pain is severe, persists for more than a few days, or worsens over time, it’s a cause for concern.

Pain When Biting: If you feel pain when biting or chewing, this may indicate an issue with the filling or the tooth itself.

Persistent Sensitivity: If sensitivity to hot or cold substances doesn’t improve or becomes increasingly uncomfortable, it’s a reason to be concerned.

Swelling or Infection: Any signs of swelling, redness, or discharge around the filled tooth can be a solid indication of infection and should not be ignored.

Radiating Pain: If the pain spreads to other areas of your face, head, or neck, it could be a sign of a more serious issue.

Fever or General Discomfort: If you experience a fever or overall feeling of illness along with tooth pain, it could be a sign of infection.

Loose or Lost Filling: If the filling becomes loose or falls out, it needs immediate attention to prevent further complications.

Is it normal for a tooth to hurt a few weeks after a filling?

In some situations, Yes! It’s okay. But not for all patients because then your oral health may be more vulnerable.

Gum Issues: Problems with the gums, such as gum disease or infection, can sometimes manifest as tooth pain and may not be directly related to the filling.

Adjacent Teeth Issues: Pain from adjacent teeth can radiate to the filled tooth, making it seem like the issue is with the filling itself.

Overuse of the Tooth: If you’ve been using the filled tooth excessively, such as chewing on hard objects, it could lead to pain.

How long will a filling hurt after getting a cavity filled?

It depends based on the following factors:

Type of Filling Material: The type of filling material used can impact post-procedure discomfort. Composite resin fillings may cause less post-operative sensitivity than amalgam (silver) fillings.

Depth and Size of the Cavity: Deeper or larger cavities that require more extensive dental work may result in more significant post-filling discomfort. This can take longer to resolve.

Tooth Location: Teeth at the back of the mouth (molars) are subjected to more pressure and force during chewing, increasing sensitivity and discomfort after a filling.

Individual Pain Tolerance: Each person’s pain tolerance is different. Some individuals may experience more discomfort or pain after dental procedures, while others may have minimal or no discomfort.

How do you know if a filling is bad?

Metallic Taste: Sometimes, a deteriorating filling can cause a metallic taste in your mouth, which might indicate an issue with the filling material.

Looseness: If the filling feels loose or moves when touched, that’s a definite sign that it needs to be fixed or replaced. 

Discoloration: Staining or discoloration of the filling material can suggest that it’s no longer effectively sealing the tooth or that bacteria may be getting beneath it.

Easing Discomfort and Embracing Solutions: Final Thoughts on Post-Filling Sensitivity

As we’ve delved into the nitty-gritty of tooth sensitivity following a dental filling, it’s evident that this common discomfort is not only manageable but often preventable with proper care and communication. Armed with an understanding of the reasons behind this sensitivity and a toolkit of strategies to mitigate it, from choosing the right dental materials to perfecting one’s oral hygiene routine, anyone can navigate this post-procedure period with confidence.

Remember, the key lies in working closely with your dental professional, who is your greatest ally in ensuring that your dental health remains on track. As you step out of the dentist’s chair and back into your daily life, take comfort in knowing that the twinge you feel today is but a temporary guest, and with the right approach, a pain-free smile awaits on the horizon.

Read More about Oral Health:

– Best Stain Remover for Teeth: Ultimate Guide for Stain-Free Smile (2023)

NuBeam Review: Best Teeth Whitening Kit & Strips Reviews 2023

– Best Teeth Whitening San Antonio: Teeth Whitening in San Antonio for A Sweet Smile

Sources & References

  1. Cavities/Tooth decay: Mayo Clinic
  2. Traumatic Dental Injuries – American Association of Endodontists
  3. Pulpitis: Types, Symptoms & Treatment – Cleveland Clinic
  4. Different filling materials – Oral Health Foundation

About the Author & Medical Reviewer:

Alexa John

Alexa John is a passionate advocate for health and fitness, dedicated to inspiring others on their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. With a background in nutrition and exercise science, she combines her knowledge to create informative and motivating content. Alexa believes in the power of balanced nutrition and regular exercise in achieving overall well-being. When she's not writing or hitting the gym, Alexa enjoys experimenting with nutritious recipes and exploring the great outdoors.

Alexander Patrick Bollenderof, DMD

Dr. Alexander Patrick, DMD, is a highly accomplished Doctor of Dental Medicine with a profound dedication to oral health and patient care. With a wealth of experience spanning over two decades, Dr. Patrick has established himself as a leading figure in the field of dentistry. Renowned for his precision and commitment to excellence, he specializes in a wide range of dental procedures, from cosmetic enhancements to restorative surgeries.