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Dr Jeff
Dr Jeff, Dentist
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Experience:  28 years practicing DDS
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I recently had a tooth filled and after a week the tooth was

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I recently had a tooth filled and after a week the tooth was still painful to bite on even though it was not sensitive to hot or cold. I went back to the dentist and he told me that the filling was deep and irritated the nerve. He said the nerve just had to get tough and told me to brush with sensitive toothpaste. I am still in pain. What should I do? He told me to give it two weeks but I don't know if I can make it that long.

Hi, I'm sorry to hear of this problem and the relating pain. I have three questions to help clarify the situation with this tooth.

1. Did the tooth have any symptoms prior to being worked on a week ago? Was it sensitive to temperature? Did you experience any sharp pains when chewing food?

2. Was a radiograph (x-ray) taken and was it shown to you prior to or after the filling was placed? Did your dentist explain that it was deep and approaching the pulp (nerve center) of the tooth?

3. What is the degree of pain now? Is it very sensitive to temperature pain with biting down.....are you unable to put any pressure on it, even as light as touching your teeth together or placing your tongue on the tooth?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I did not have any pain in that tooth prior to being filled. He did take x-rays of my teeth before filling it but I did not see them. After filling it he said it was a deep filling. Right now hot and cold do not bother me but chewing food does. When I went back to him he touch a spot on my gum and asked if that hurt which it did and that is when he told me it was the nerve and it had been irritated by the filling. And that it would take probably two weeks to get tough or over the pain.
Thanks! I must admit that many times a filling is placed in a tooth, and, although the x-ray may not show the depth of the decay, once the preparation for a new filling begins, it may be deeper than anticipated. There is sometimes a difference between the type of pain we experience as well. For example, a sharp, shooting pain, which is present most commonly only with chewing could mean that there is a crack in the enamel, which are very difficult to detect, due to their microscopic nature. If you are experiencing a more typical type of post-operative pain, then it may be a deep, dull ache, of varying degrees. Does this pain lessen at all with the OTC meds? Is it constant, or only experienced with chewing? Does the way your teeth come together feel natural, or does it feel like they are being held apart by the new filling? Does it seem to be a sharp, shooting pain, or more dull and constant? Does it feel worse at night or even have a throbbing tendency? I know that is a lot of questions, but these are what I would ask you in my office to see where we should go.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The pain is more constant. I have to continually take OTC meds to help kill the pain. I have tried to chew on that side but the pain is too great to continue. My teeth come together fine and feel natural that way but the pain is throbbing and I am having trouble sleeping or even doing daily functions for that matter because of my tooth. I just want to rip it out of my mouth to get relief.

Thanks again. I am really sorry to hear this. Several things you have said would lead me to believe that this problem may not go away without further treatment. A tooth that has a pulp which is damaged, either by trauma (such as a blow to a front tooth), decay invading or approaching the pulp chamber, or even dental work which is in close proximity to the pulp, can cause irreversible changes within the tooth. Remember the pulp includes a nerve and a tiny blood vessel. When this is damaged, the body reacts by increasing the flow of blood, thereby increasing the pressure, and consequently leading to pain.

Unfortunately, your dentist was correct in saying that the nerve was irritated by the depth of the filling. I'm sure he placed some sedative liner in the depths of the preparation for the filling. This is done in hopes that no symptoms arise. Unfortunately, teeth sometimes have a "mind of their own" If you have experienced no improvement in the pain since it was placed, and judging from your last post it is not better, I would suggest you inquire about root canal therapy (endodontics). You have given me a few clues as to the degree of the problem, such as sleeplessness, throbbing pain, the desperation to remove it to ease the pain.

When a tooth is causing this degree of discomfort, the only recourse is to 1) do root canal treatment, which takes the nerve and blood vessel out of the center of the tooth, and seals it so that infection cannot occur, or 2) have the tooth removed. As a dentist we always make attempts to save teeth when possible and practical. I would discuss root canal with your dentist. If he does not do them, which some dentist choose not to do, he can refer you to an endodontist to have the treatment. This is a dentist who specializes in doing root canal therapy. Once the nerve is removed, you would experience some immediate relief, and likely total relief within days. A likely followup to root canal treatment would be placing a crown on the tooth, to protect it from fracture. When the tooth loses its vitality (pulp contents), it becomes more brittle and at a greater risk of fracture. It could break to the point of non-restorability, so a crown is usually a followup to root canal.

I hope this helps. This pain you are experiencing is so intense in nature that I believe you should have it treated as soon as possible. I would contact your dentist as soon as you can. Let me know if you have any further questions..Good luck and hang in there.

Dr Jeff and other Dental Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for your advise. Unfortunately it is I can not contact my dentist until Monday. I thought maybe a root canal would be involved even though he did not suggest that.

I hope all goes well for you and you will get some relief as soon as possible. If you have no questions, I wish you the very best. Any feedback you would care to leave would be appreciated. My very best! Hope it settles down for the weekend.