Tooth Sensitivity After Filling

Sensitive teeth can be a common side effect after receiving a dental filling at Michael Drone Dentistry & Prosthodontics. More than 25% of children will have a cavity before they are five years old.

A child’s first tooth filling can be scary and intimidating. When you talk about the procedure with your child, set a good example and don’t share too much information. Maintain a simple and positive tone. You should also avoid words which may be scary for your child. This can include words like "needles," "drills" or "sharp." Allow the pediatric dentist to explain the relevant details. The pediatric dentist has specialized training in how to properly speak with children throughout the procedure.

Anesthesia works by relaxing the muscles which keep food and acid in your stomach and out of your lungs. As a result, the Mayo Clinic suggests limiting large meals about six hours before the visit. It is also important for the child to brush their teeth before the treatment to remove and food or debris before the dental filling.


Topical and local anesthesia are frequently used with pediatric fillings. A pediatric dentist may use nitrous oxide oxygen which helps to calm your child and reduce the discomfort of a gag reflex. General anesthesia may also be used for some children with special needs or for those who have extreme anxiety. General anesthesia should only be administered in the office by well-trained staff.

Regardless of what procedure is being performed, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests asking certain questions as it relates to any level of anesthesia:

  • Who is providing the pretreatment assessment of the child? This includes obtaining prior medical information, reviewing allergies a current prescriptions.
  • What training and certification does the staff have? How will monitor the patient during the treatment?
  • What are the emergency medical plans and medications, if needed?


An average filling procedure takes approximately an hour. To help alleviate stress, a pediatric dentist usually breaks the work into multiple visits if more than tooth requires treatment.

Most dentists use a "tell-show-do" technique. This process aids in eliminating any concepts which may be scary or cause fear for the patient. The dentist may even offer breaks during the procedure to help keep the patient calm. Many offices play movies or music during the procedure as a distraction for kids during treatment.

Post Treatment Care

It is common to experience sensitive teeth after a filling and swelling in the area which was treated. Younger children can cause additional swelling when they bite their tongue or cheeks before the anesthesia wears off. In most cases, sensitivity and swelling should only last for a few days. Swelling which lasts more than a few days can be an indication of an allergic response to anesthesia. Continued sensitivity may also indicate that your child needs an adjustment to their bite. In the event of any extended discomfort, be sure to make a follow-up appointment with your pediatric dentist for evaluation.

Following the treatment, the best care for your child includes:

  • Closely monitor their mouth for swelling or sensitivity which lasts more than two days
  • Limit what your child eats to soft foods immediate following the procedure until the sensitivity and swelling has subsided
  • Limit your child’s use of straws and sippy cups the first few days as sucking can prolong sensitivity
  • Use a cold compress on the treated area for 15 minutes at a time
  • Give your child acetaminophen as needed
  • Avoid activity the day of the dental filling and encourage your child to rest the next day
  • Consider having your dentist place sealants to minimize the potential for future cavities and fillings

It can be difficult to care for a child with sensitive teeth after a filling treatment. Understanding the procedure and recovery can help parents know what to expect and when to follow up with the dentist. It is important for children to regularly visit the dentist and take good care of their teeth through regular brushing and flossing to avoid cavities and other issues.

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Our office is conveniently located in Valparaiso, IN. Many of our patients are from the surrounding Northwest Indiana areas: Valparaiso, Chesterton, Portage, Hobart, Merrillville, Schererville, Kouts, Highland, Munster, La Porte, Michigan City, South Bend, and Crown Point. Patients also travel from Chicago, Ohio and Southwest Michigan.