When you have a simple cavity or a deeper amount of decay that can be removed while still salvaging the tooth, your dentist will perform a dental filling. This is where the decay and infected part of your tooth is drilled out and replaced with a porcelain or metal 'filling' to repair the tooth. When you get a filling, you may notice a few things that seem odd in the following days after your procedure. Tooth fillings are among the most common procedures patients of all ages get at the dentist and they can be done in a matter of minutes with just local anesthetic. Knowing what to expect after getting a tooth filled can help you better cope with the mild to moderate healing process.
Pain in your jaw
You can expect a bit of pain, tightness, or discomfort in your jaw and possibly your cheeks following your teeth filling, especially if you have had more than one tooth worked on. This isn't so much due to the procedure itself, which is relatively non-invasive, but due to the long amount of time you had to lie down with your mouth gaping open so your dentist could work. The strain on your jaw and muscles can leave you feeling sore. An over the counter pain medication should help.
Grittiness in your mouth
The grittiness you may feel inside your mouth for a few days is likely the filling itself. The material used in the filling wears down after a few days naturally as you chew, talk, swallow, and drink. The grittiness or the feeling that something is 'stuck in your teeth' is the pressure of the new filling as it takes on its more permanent shape. If your mouth feels funny when closing your jaw, it could be that the filling was set too high in your tooth or just your mouth adjusting to the foreign substance. If the grittiness persists for more than a few days or if you also notice bits of debris in your mouth, call your dentist to have your dental work double-checked.
Any pain you have following a tooth filling should subside on its own in a few days and can be easily treated with ice, heat, and over the counter medication. If your pain worsens after a day or so or you get a fever along with your pain, call your dentist right away. You may have an infection (although rare) or issues with nerve damage in your procedure site, which will need immediate attention. Have your dentist do a followup with you to see what ay be causing your prolonging or increasing pain and discomfort.