Last September, my dentist filled a top left tooth with a white filling. The tooth became sensitive to anything cold that I ate or drank. I scheduled an appointment with my dentist. She examined to tooth and said I had a deep cavity. She recommended a temporary crown, although I didn’t understand her explanation for it. She told me to give it a few months, and if sensitivity continued, she would do a root canal on the tooth and give me a permanent crown.
I haven’t returned to my dentist, although the tooth is still somewhat sensitive. My sister advised me to get a second opinion. Is it possible that I don’t need a root canal and crown, or do I need a new filling? I’m not ready to schedule a dental appointment yet, but I’ve been putting off getting my teeth whitened before the issue is resolved.
Thanks, Meghan from Burlington, VT
Thanks for choosing Dr. Szarek’s office to answer your question
Your decision to delay teeth whitening is wise. The bleaching gel can cause sensitivity without a pre-existing issue. Whitening your teeth before the issue is resolved would further irritate them.
Several factors affect whether you need additional dental work for sensitivity in your tooth.
Tooth Sensitivity and How to Treat It
- Increasing tooth sensitivity – If your tooth sensitivity is increasing, you might need a root canal treatment. What we don’t understand is why your dentist put a temporary crown on your teeth. Was your tooth cracked? If so, a dentist would cover it with a dental crown.
- Additional dental work can make things worse – If a tooth is sensitive, further work on it can make things worse—even aggravating the living tissue inside the tooth and creating a need for root canal treatment.
- Watch and wait – At this point, we don’t recommend a new filling, a new crown, or any additional work. Just work. Your irritated tooth nerved need time to settle down. If it begins to feel worse, call your dentist. If you’re uncomfortable with your dentist, get a second opinion.
- If your tooth is sensitive after a filling – If you receive a composite or silver filling and later begin to feel sensitivity in the tooth, bacteria from the original decay has spread into the tooth pulp. Your body’s defenses may get rid of the infection. Otherwise, a dentist will perform root canal treatment. Although people joke about root canal treatment or refer to it in negative ways, skilled dentists make the procedure painless.
This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.