Last October my dentist placed a filling in my left front tooth. In January, I returned to the dentist to correct a notch between my tooth that interfered with flossing. The dentist smoothed out the notch. But a few days later, I felt a shock in the tooth while I was eating. In two weeks, I returned to the dentist, and she took an x-ray. She said the tooth is fine but sensitive to the filling, and she advised me to take Advil. My tooth is still sensitive, and the pain is intense. What should I expect to get this resolved – another filling? Or might I need a root canal? This is delaying my teeth whitening treatment that I wanted to complete before my wedding in mid-April. Thank you. Avril from NH
Your intense pain means that you should see an endodontist—or root canal specialist. Your dentist should be able to test your tooth and look at the x-ray for internal damage, but an endodontist will give you an accurate diagnosis.
Is Intense Pain After a Filling Just Irritation?
Intense pain months after a dental filling is more than just irritation. An irritated tooth improves, even though it may be gradually. Progressive pain that gets worse is a symptom of an infection.
Although your dentist may have done something wrong when placing the filling, it is more likely that decay under the old filling caused bacteria to get into the tooth pulp. Bacteria trapped beneath your new filling will cause a painful infection.
Root Canal Filling on a Front Tooth
Advanced cosmetic dentists understand that when performing a root canal on a front tooth, they must ensure no root canal filling is left inside the crown. Trimming the filling below the tooth attachment prevents the tooth from discoloring and turning dark.
If your dentist is not willing to refer you to an endodontist, check with your dental insurance company to see if self-referral is allowed. Otherwise, you might need to get a second opinion from a cosmetic dentist who can either resolve the issue or give you a referral.
After your tooth pain is resolved, you can begin the teeth whitening process.
Michael Szarek, DMD, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Lowell, MA, sponsors this post.