• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

Pretty extreme hot/cold sensitivity a few days after filling.



Sep 26, 2021
Hello, before I begin I'd like to mention I have called my dentist and I will be going in on wednesday but I am in some pretty major discomfort and I would like to have an idea about what to expect.

I had some fillings done last wednesday (5 days ago) and things were pretty sensitive for a couple of days but everting seems to have calmed down outside of one tooth which is getting worse and worse as time passes.

I had small holes in the buccal surface of my 2nd molar on both sides (pics in my previous posts) and on my left side (where the smaller of the two hole was) that tooth is now extremely sensitive with some lingering sensitivity to hot/cold (never had this in that tooth AT ALL before the procedure) and is pretty much constantly throbbing a bit with some pain/discomfort. The fillings were composite.

I've made my finger cold with ice and explored a bit and it seems to just be the buccal side of the tooth that is sore/experiencing sensitivity. When I was biting into my dinner last night the heat was also really painful, which from my time here I have taken as a bad sign.

My plan was to avoid googling and looking around but since I can't get in I tried to find something here via searching that could ease my mind but it's looking more and more like I am going to end up with a root canal.

Is what I am experiencing normal? I've seen some sensitivity being normal but in all of the threads I found it seemed like RCT is final solution. I really don't want to kill off a tooth in my early 30s when I was feeling perfectly fine before I went in.
It's more likely to be a bonding failure between the composite and the tooth, it's been mentioned on here a fair few times.
It's more likely to be a bonding failure between the composite and the tooth, it's been mentioned on here a fair few times.

Lord it would be lovely if that's all that it is. I've got some big events coming up with work and hosting my wife's family and the timing of this is a nightmare.

Is there something in my description that leads you to believe this is the case and not something more sinister? There is some pain and discomfort even without hot/cold stimulus and it's hard to keep my mind off of it. The pain from the sensitivity is also pretty severe and lingers for a bit. The cold is almost unbearable.

I apologize for the extra questions, I'm an expat living in Austria and everywhere here speaks a very difficult to understand dialect, including my dentist, so I'm trying to pull from all sources and see if I can know what expect and things to look out for. When I'm there things tend to move very quickly and I feel as though things get lost as I fumble through trying to speak German.
Additionally, I'm not feeling any discomfort really when chewing or putting pressure on the tooth (I'm a big gum chewer) so I suppose that must be a good sign?

Again, sorry for the questions, terrible timing + anxiety are killing me here lol.
I froze a couple of damp cotton swabs last night and have been testing the area and it seems as though the only painful sensitivity on any of the filled teeth is just on the one and only on the one side. I can press the cold on the other side of the tooth and it just feels "normal" but if I put it on the buccal side where the composite filling is it hurts really bad and lingers.
All this points to a bonding failure really, if it was heading for endo then you'd not have any cold sensitivity and it would be becoming tender to bite on.

Funny enough, I know an excellent Austrian dentist who is working here in Scotland :) Shame it's not the other way round.

I do speak a little German but when I was talking to Austrians they used to moan that I sounded like I was "from the BBC", far too "correct". Which is a first for me, normally my Glasgow accent makes me sound very common.
I do speak a little German but when I was talking to Austrians they used to moan that I sounded like I was "from the BBC", far too "correct". Which is a first for me, normally my Glasgow accent makes me sound very common.

To be fair, to most Austrians any German that isn't Austrian dialect sounds too proper to them :)

Pretty much everyone in my life here tries to make sure I'm not learning any non-approved pronunciations or phrases, it's a good time lol.

Thanks again for the response, Gordon.
Went back to the dentist on wednesday, they seemed to think that the filling on the buccal side on the left just needs more time. Pretty adamant about no need for RCT or endo stuff. Gave me a special toothpaste and something to put on the tooth before I got sleep.

Pretty disappointed, the soreness gets worse as the day goes on and it is just uncomfortable.

I asked about the bonding and they were just like, "No it's going to hurt for a while until the outside heals."

I'm not thrilled about remaining in pain until "it just gets better".

Pretty much a nightmare situation for a health anxiety sufferer.
Long explanation time.

The inner part of the tooth (dentine) has little tubes running through it from the pulp (the "nerve") to the join with the outer part (enamel). These little tubes carry nerve fibres. These nerves are stupid, they only carry pain receptors, not hot/cold/sweet or anything else useful, just pain. If anything stimulates them then "pain" is sent back.

Composite fillings shrink slightly as they set. This is a pain, as they can leave microscopic gaps around them or under them. To avoid this happening dentists use a variety of chemical cements to "bond" the edges and underside of the composite to the tooth structure. These cements are incredibly technique sensitive, if they aren't done almost perfectly then the bonding doesn't work 100% reliably.

In a lot of patients, due to age/anatomical differences/whatever any slight failure of the bonding process isn't important. Their little tubes aren't affected. In others the bonding failure allows either stimulants to get into the tubes via the edges of the filling or under pressure from eating/biting the filling flexes slightly, causing a pumping effect on the tubes. Thanks to the dumb nerves, the patient gets a shot of pain...

1) Sometimes the composite/cement simply hasn't been zapped long enough by the blue light we use to set them, or the bulb is on the way out or the end has got a bit of cement on it which is blocking light transmission. So just zap the whole thing again for a bit longer :)
2) If the edge of the bond has failed, redoing the bond process can sort it by filling in any micro-gaps
3) If the underside has failed, pretty much the only thing that will work is to redo the filling
4) Leave it alone. Eventually the pulp gets fed up with all the abuse and literally walls itself off from the area that's doing it. This can take a while and doesn't always happen.

Sounds like your dentist has gone for option 4. Please don't ask me to translate that lot into German for you :)
Thank you so much for the explanation, you should just copy/paste this and pin it to the top of the forums right now because it seems like this type of question is becoming common!

On wednesday, when I (and my wife, who is Austrian and more communicative than I) mentioned an issue with the bonding or the filling itself, it was communicated to me that my situation was simply a result of the location of the filling (on the buccal surface) and that the location of the filling meant that there was just less of those tooth layers there and that this was normal. My wife made sure to reiterate to her that we were concerned about the filling and she seemed to be aware of that issue but didn't think it was happening in my case.

Rationally, I wonder if we may just have a situation where they were able to fit me in with almost no notice, she took a look, and maybe thinks with a nightly care treatment and some special toothpaste that the issue may take the #4 route and if not they can just rezap it later on. I'm really not sure. I guess I should just be happy that all of you seem to agree that we aren't heading for RCT ?

My biggest issue right now isn't really the sensitivity, I can avoid that, but it just starts to ache as the day goes on forcing me to take medication to be able to focus normally. That + anxiety causing me to focus on it, making things worse. Our brains are just such powerful (and sometimes annoying) things.
It'll be an increasing problem as we move away from good old amalgam (which a monkey could shove into a cavity and get a decent result!) and towards composites. Luckily the newer bonding agents coming along are a bit less technique sensitive but we're not at amalgam levels yet!
Doing fillings on the buccal side of molars does make the filling closer to the pulp but that's not why it's sensitive...
It does sound like they're going towards option 4, desensitising potions are basically a way to make the pulp seal itself off quicker.
How are you feeling? I had some fillings that sound similar to yours last Wednesday and am getting so worried I will need another RCT. Waiting to see if it settles for now…
How are you feeling? I had some fillings that sound similar to yours last Wednesday and am getting so worried I will need another RCT. Waiting to see if it settles for now…

Hey Izzy, after reading your post in another thread it seems like you might be experiencing some different symptoms compared to what I am currently experiencing. I have very extreme hot/cold sensitivity, not just a small ache that comes and goes.

Remember, fillings are procedures where some of the tooth gets removed wit ha drill, I believe it's very normal to have the tooth be a little achy for a while, but I'm not a dentist.
hi! i know it’s been a while since you posted this but did your sensitivity ever go away? or what ended up happening with your tooth. i’m currently in a similar situation. i got a tooth filling 4 days ago and now it is sensitive to cold and hot. the filling wasn’t deep so i don’t know what is causing this.
Last edited: