Cavities and Tooth Sensitivity
Pain from tooth sensitivity isn’t always the result of cavities, but it can be a sign of tooth decay. Tooth decay can weaken the hard, protective covering of the teeth, called enamel. Once the enamel is compromised, the inner layers of the tooth are exposed to outside elements such as air, food and drink. It is in these inner portions of the tooth where blood vessels and nerves are located. When hot, cold or overly sweet food and drink particles enter the tooth, they can aggravate the nerves causing tooth pain and sensitivity.
Fillings are a common restorative dental procedure to halt the progression of cavities and prevent the tooth from further decay. Dental bonding is placed into and over “holes” in the tooth caused by cavities after the tooth has been cleaned and the plaque removed. This bonding agent is then “cemented” in place using an ultraviolet light. Fillings often resolve tooth sensitivity caused by tooth decay as the nerves and inner parts of the tooth are once again covered and protected.
Sometimes the cavity is too deep or widespread for fillings to be effective. In these cases, a dental crown will be placed over the decayed tooth.
Why Fillings Fail
Dental fillings, like many other dental types of dental work, don’t last forever and do eventually wear out or get loose. When a filling weakens or comes off, the filling will need to be replaced by the dentist.
Fillings are exposed to a lot of wear and tear. The act of chewing, biting, grinding and clenching of the teeth over many years does take a toll on fillings.
If you’ve had fillings and experience sudden tooth sensitivity and your filling hasn’t fallen out or gotten loose, it could mean your filling is about to give out.
A failing or failed dental filling re-exposes those damaged areas of the enamel and the underlying nerves. This causes potentially serious pain and tooth sensitivity.
While a failed filling isn’t considered a dental emergency, one should schedule an appointment with his or her dentist as soon as possible. The longer the vulnerable, sensitive inner portions of the tooth are exposed to outside elements such as germs and bacteria, the greater the chance of getting tooth decay. Additionally, the pain and discomfort caused by the resulting tooth sensitivity can be intense enough to negatively affect one’s daily life.
In rare cases patients may experience tooth sensitivity immediately after getting their fillings. There are many reasons for this including the tooth’s reaction to the filling material (some patients have adverse reactions to amalgam fillings) and incorrect placement of the filling.