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Confused by recent dental work



Junior member
Jan 13, 2013
I went to the dentist in mid-December and was told that I have several cavities. Some were new and some were old fillings that needed to be replaced. I've had almost all of the work done, and I have major concerns about how my mouth is adjusting to these fillings.

I had 2 fillings on my front 2 teeth and I need 2 more on the teeth right next to them that will be done next week. I have almost constant dull pain in 2 of my front teeth (one that has already be filled and one that still needs the filling). It has been over 1 month since these teeth were filled. When I went the the dentist on Friday, he said that my front teeth were probably sore from grinding at night. I know that I do grind, and I just took impressions for a mouth guard. The dentist didn't even re-x-ray these teeth because he said that new cavities take 6 months-1 year to form, and since my x-rays were only a month old, that we'd try the mouth guard first. But I'm really worried that the nerve in my tooth is dying and nothing is being done about it.

I also had a filling on one of my lower left molars about a week ago. This tooth was very hard to get numb during the procedure and required several shots of Novocaine. I didn't really feel any pain during the drilling, but when the actual filling was being placed, my tooth did hurt a bit. When I got home at first, my tooth was EXTREMELY sensitive to cold. That seems to be going away. But I can't eat on that side or I feel a sharp pain shoot through my tooth. The dentist tried to adjust my bite this Friday, but my tooth was so sensitive to the drill that he couldn't finish and said we'd look at it again next week. Did this filling bond improperly, or is it really just a high bite? Is my tooth cracked?

None of the new fillings seem to be "right." I go to a reputable dentist and am not sure what's going wrong here. I don't know what to do and feel like a pest to my dentist. Any advice is appreciated.
I had something similar happen to me when I had some old fillings replaced with composites (never again!). 4 out of 7 teeth had the sharp pain to biting. Most of the time, this is caused by the bite being off, but I had 6+ bite adjustments with no improvement. Sensitivity to heat is the bad sign that the nerve in your tooth is dying - sensitivity to cold that resolves quickly after the cold source is removed just means that the nerve is upset but can still heal. Also, bite pain from cracks tends to occur when you release pressure from biting, not while you are applying the pressure. Cracks are often not visible on x-rays, but there are some other tests available.

If I were you, I would do as follows (caveat: I am not a dentist!) :

1. Let the dentist try to adjust the fillings at least one or two more times, and give it some time between adjustments - if there is some improvement, that is a good sign that the tooth will improve on its own with time.

2. If the bite adjustments don't work, have the filling taken out and get a temporary sedative filling - these are made out of clove oil and some kind of other substance, and are very calming to the nerve in the tooth. They only last a few months at most, though.

3. If your tooth is happy and pain-free with the temporary filling, try again with a new permanent filling. Ask your dentist if they use a 'lining' to help protect the nerve in the tooth and reduce sensitivity. You can also ask to have a different type of filling instead.

4. If the tooth is not happy with the sedative filling, or the replacement filling does not help, then get a referral to an endodontist. They will check to see if the nerve in the tooth is healthy, if the tooth is cracked, and ought to be able to tell you what kind of treatment would be best for the tooth.

I was able to fix one of the problem fillings by trying a sedative filling and then having it refilled with amalgam - this was an immediate fix. The other three teeth were cracked and ended up with root canals and crowns. At first I was reluctant to keep bothering the dentist, but after a few months of not being able to eat, I didn't care any more. Now I am more willing to keep 'pestering' the dentist when I am having a problem with a restoration - if you don't speak up, they don't realize that you are having a problem. You can also get a second opinion at any time.

Good luck! :clover:
I had a nerve in my lower front tooth that was dying caused by all the pressure I put on it when I grind (I have a nightguard, but sometimes I fall asleep so quickly at night and don't wear it). The pain from this dying nerve was UNBEARABLE, not just a dull ache. I couldn't bear anything touching my tooth.............my tongue, food ..............it was sheer agony. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep because if my tongue even brushed by that tooth, it would throb for hours. The only thing that cured that pain was a root canal.
I would definitely pester your dentist if you feel something isn't right. Like jellyfish said, if you don't tell your dentist that you are having pain, he won't know anything is wrong. If he gives you a hard time because you are concerned about the pain you are having (I mean, who wouldn't be concerned, pain is a signal that something IS wrong), then yes, maybe you need to get a second opinion.
I hope your dentist can figure this out for you and you'll soon be feeling better!!
Many :hug4:'s!