September 1, 2021

Pain after a filling
Expect some recovery time after a deep filling. There may be some residual pain from the injection site. The tooth may remain tender for a few days due to the dental work, and disturbances near the pulp. If the sensitivity is improving day by day then it is a good sign. It sometimes takes weeks to settle properly.

If the tooth is getting worse day by day, then contact your dentist. A high filling (interfering with closing your teeth together properly) can be eased. Contact the dentist immediately if the filling is high, as prompt adjustment will take the stress off the tooth and aid recovery.

If the tooth is more sensitive than before or is aching, then the pulp may not have survived, despite the dentist’s best efforts. An irritated pulp that does not recover within a couple of weeks, or pain that is getting worse, needs attention from the dentist. Usually, the pulp will need to be removed, either by root canal treatment, or removal of the whole tooth. Sometimes the filling can be replaced for a temporary sedative filling containing oil of cloves. A “wait and see” approach is then taken to see if the tooth will recover. The success of this technique is variable and needs to be weighed up by the dentist and the patient.

Pain after root canal treatment (or RCT)
The aim of RCT is to remove infected or traumatised pulp from the canal. After the anaesthetic wears off, there may be some pain where the pulp has been detached from the tooth. This should fade within a day or 2.

If there was an abscess under the tooth ( an infection that has spread beyond the tooth and into the bone) there will be a lot of healing to go on after treatment. There may also be some swelling. Contact your dentist if you are feeling ill or feverish, as antibiotics may be indicated.

If the pain is not improving by day 3, contact your dentist. It may be possible that the pain is coming from a different tooth. Try to identify which tooth the pain is coming from.

Pain after removal of a tooth
There will be a pain as the socket is healing. Day 3 tends to be the worse, and then lessening each day thereafter. The amount of pain is dependent on how difficult the extraction was and whether there was any bone removal. With bone removed, the pain can be worse so rely on painkillers (below). Post-operative care instructions are here.

Improper healing of the socket can also cause prolonged pain. Causes:

The patient is a smoker or has other health limitations.
The blood clot has come out of the socket, leaving the bone exposed.
Hygiene: Food and plaque falling into the socket, and not being removed regularly.
Bone is exposed, due to an odd shaped socket.
Contact your dentist if you have concerns about pain or bleeding after an extraction.