So you’ve just had some fillings placed…

So you’ve just had Dr. Austin place some new fillings for you. You may be wondering what you might expect after the procedure. Let’s run through some of the topics relevant to that discussion.

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  • In order to do fillings, we most likely had to anesthetize an area of your mouth. This is great because it enables Dr. Austin to perform your fillings without any discomfort. It can pose a small problem at the end of the procedure, however. Sometimes when an area of your mouth is anesthetized, it is difficult for you to determine if you are biting down in the correct position. When we adjust the bite after placing the filling, a slight shift in your jaw may disguise a discrepancy in your bite on the new filling. Because the area is numb, the discrepancy will not be felt until the anesthetic wears off and the bite returns to normal. It is not uncommon to need to adjust a patient’s bite the day after fillings are placed. A tooth that has an uneven bite can be sensitive to chewing, biting down or both. Generally, this requires just a couple of minutes to adjust the filling so that the bite is even. This task is much easier when the patient has full feeling of their teeth and jaws. Signs of a high bite on a filling are sensitivity and a feeling like the teeth on the other side of the mouth don’t touch when biting down. Almost always, adjusting the bite leads to immediate relief of the sensitivity symptoms.
  • In most cases, we use tooth-colored resin composite filling material. This material is more esthetic than silver dental amalgam. Unlike amalgam, resin composites are micro-mechanically bonded to your natural tooth structure. This is a great benefit to the use of resin composite materials, however post-operative sensitivity can be a side effect. Occasionally, bonding of the resin composite material traps some stresses inside the tooth structure. This can lead to sensitivity, especially to cold. Generally, this decreases within a few days after filling placement and usually disappears within two weeks. If you have any post-operative sensitivity that does not dissipate within a few days or seems to get worse, please let us know immediately.
  • Any time we touch a bur to a tooth, there is a risk that the nerve inside the tooth becomes inflamed and necessitates a root canal. For most fillings this is a very small risk, but it can occur. Nerve involvement risk increases when we work on teeth with deep decay or cracks. The deeper the decay goes, the more likely that the tooth will need a root canal in the future. If the decay leads close to the nerve, Dr. Austin will place a medicament called a pulp cap in that area and then place the filling over it. This can prevent many teeth with deep preparations from needing root canals but not in all cases. If we needed to place a pulp cap during your filling, we will let you know. It is very common to have cold sensitivity for a few days to a couple weeks after a deep restoration is placed.

If after your fillings are placed, you have cold sensitivity or the bite feels off, please let us know. We can help ease the discomfort in many instances. Most fillings placed have no post-operative issues, but just like any procedure, complications can occur. We hope your new fillings serve you well for many years!