Tooth sensitivity after a filling

My niece asked me if extreme hot and cold sensitivity is normal after having a filling replaced.  She said the tooth has been this way for 3 months.   I told her that a little sensitivity is normal, but if a tooth is extremely sensitive, there is a problem.

Whenever decay is present in a tooth, the nerve endings from the pulp tissue are exposed.  This is why the tooth hurts when you have a cavity.

Dentists are taught that when the decayed part of the tooth is removed, the nerve endings from the pulp tissue are more exposed than before.  Dentist are taught that this new clean tooth structure and exposed nerve endings need to be covered by a special base material to protect it before a filling is placed.  This base material is to protect, insulate, and stimulate the tooth to produce more tooth structure as a barrier to decay and sensitivity.

If the protective base material is not applied, or not applied properly, the tooth can become extremely sensitive to hot and cold stimulus.  Other things that can cause hot and cold sensitivity are: 1)  the filling being high and hitting first when we bite; 2)  the decay being too deep and causing and infection inside the tooth causing the tooth to abcess (this type of sensitivity lasts about 20-30 minutes).

So if you have extreme hot or cold sensitivity after having a filling done, you should ask the dentist the following questions to find out why the tooth might be hurting so much: 1)   Was any base material placed under the filling? 2)  Could the filling be high and traumatizing my tooth when I bite down? or 3)  Was the decay very deep and could my tooth be abcessing?    Most the time the symptoms you are experiencing and the degree of their severity will help you and your dentist figure out what is wrong.


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