Problems With Dental Fillings (cont.)

Pain Around Fillings

There are several explanations for pain around fillings, each resulting from a different cause.

  1. Pain when you bite. With this type of pain, the pain occurs when you bite down. The pain is noticed soon after the anesthesia wears off and continues over time. In this case, the filling is interfering with your bite. You will need to return to your dentist and have the filling reshaped.
  2. Pain when your teeth touch. This pain is a very sharp pain that occurs only when your teeth touch. The pain is likely caused by the touching of two different metal surfaces (for example, the silver amalgam in a newly filled tooth and a gold crown on another tooth with which it touches). This pain should resolve on its own within a short period of time.
  3. "Toothache-type" pain. If the decay was very deep to the pulp of the tooth, this "toothache" response may indicate this tissue is no longer healthy. If this is the case, "root canal" treatment will be required.
  4. Referred pain. With this type of pain, you experience pain or sensitivity in other teeth besides the one that received the filling. With this particular pain, there is likely nothing wrong with your teeth. The filled tooth is simply passing along "pain signals" it's receiving to other teeth. This pain should decrease on its own over 1 to 2 weeks.

Allergic Reactions to Amalgam (Silver) Fillings

Allergic reactions to silver fillings are rare. Fewer than 100 cases have ever been reported, according to the ADA. In these rare circumstances, mercury or one of the metals used in an amalgam restoration is thought to trigger the allergic response. Symptoms of amalgam allergy are similar to those experienced in a typical skin allergy and include skin rashes and itching. Patients who suffer amalgam allergies typically have a medical or family history of allergies to metals. Once an allergy is confirmed, another restorative material can be used.

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