Can dental fillings be used to treat sensitive teeth?

Can dental fillings be used to treat sensitive teeth?

October 9, 2023

Tooth sensitivity involves sharp pain or discomfort in response to hot, cold, sweet, or pressure stimuli. The cause is often exposure of the inner tooth layers due to receding gums, enamel erosion, or cracks. Fillings that seal and reinforce teeth provide an effective sensitivity treatment.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

The hard enamel outer layer normally protects the softer dentin interior. But when dentin becomes exposed, pain signals travel more easily through open tubules to the nerve. This results in sensitivity and pain.

Common causes include:

  • Gum recession over time
  • Worn enamel from abrasion or acid erosion
  • Fractures or cracks in the tooth surface
  • Newly erupted teeth with thin enamel
  • Increased tooth transparency from aging

See your dentist if sensitivity persists beyond a few weeks for diagnosis and treatment planning.

How Can Fillings Treat Sensitivity?

Dental fillings replace missing enamel and seal off open tubules in the dentin. This prevents temperature changes and pressure from reaching the nerve to trigger discomfort.

Typically, shallow fillings in the center of the tooth crown effectively treat straightforward sensitivity. The filled and sealed surface blocks irritants from penetrating the dentin.

Your dentist will remove only decayed areas before filling, preserving healthy tooth structure. Advanced bonding techniques ensure the material bonds tightly for a durable seal.

Types of Fillings for Sensitivity

While amalgam has historically treated sensitivity, today’s most popular options are:

  • Composite resin – Tooth-colored material that matches the shade of your natural teeth. Less tooth removal is needed compared to amalgam.
  • Glass ionomer cement – Translucent material that releases fluoride to further protect the tooth.
  • Gold foil – Gold condenses into a thin sheet and provides an excellent seal for sensitive areas.

Your dentist will recommend the optimal filling material based on the location and extent of sensitivity.

Other Sensitivity Treatment Options

Beyond fillings, other ways your dentist may manage sensitivity include:

  • Fluoride varnish – Strengthens enamel and reduces sensitivity fast.
  • Desensitizing toothpaste – Potassium salts block pain signals.
  • Bonding – Similar to fillings but requires less drilling.
  • Root canals – May be needed if decay is extensive.
  • Gum grafting – Covers exposed root surfaces if gums are receding.

A multi-pronged approach provides the most complete relief. Fillings address the sensitivity source, while fluoride and toothpaste manage symptoms.

How long does it take for fillings to reduce sensitivity?

Sensitivity relief is often immediate after the anesthetic wears off. Full benefits occur over several weeks as the area completely heals.

Do fillings for sensitivity require special care?

Follow normal oral hygiene and eating habits. Avoid chewing hard foods like ice on the filled area initially. See your dentist if you notice cracks, damage, or recurrent sensitivity.

Will I need additional fillings over time?

Properly cared-for fillings can last many years. However, new decay, fractures, or leaking may require replacement fillings. Regular dental exams catch issues early.

Should I expect pain during the procedure?

The tooth and surrounding area are fully numbed first. With anesthesia, you should feel only pressure or vibration, not pain. Let your dentist know immediately if any discomfort occurs.

How do metal crowns compare to fillings for sensitivity?

Crowns are indicated for more significant structural damage, while conservative fillings treat straightforward sensitivity. Your dentist will let you know which option is best for you.

Talk to your dentist, like Milestone Family Dentistry, if you suffer from bothersome tooth sensitivity. Simple tooth fillings near you can provide prompt, lasting relief. Protect your smile with this quick, non-invasive solution.

How Soon After a Filling Can I Expect Sensitivity Relief?

Many patients experience immediate sensitivity resolution once the anesthesia wears off fully. However, the area may take several weeks to heal before maximum results are noticed completely.

Be patient as your tooth adjusts to the new filling. Use desensitizing toothpaste and avoid extremes of hot and cold during initial healing. The sensitivity should steadily improve within a few weeks.

Why Choose Composite Resin Fillings?

Composite resin offers aesthetic and health advantages:

  • Seamlessly matches natural tooth color and translucency
  • Bonds tightly to create a strong, integrated seal
  • Requires conservative tooth preparation
  • Contains no mercury-like amalgam fillings

Your dentist in Daphne has advanced composite materials and bonding techniques for incredible sensitivity relief with composite resin fillings.

Can Fillings Worsen Sensitivity?

Properly done fillings should only help sensitivity. However, potential issues like inadequate bonding, fractured filling edges, or leaking can cause recurring or worsening sensitivity.

See your dentist promptly if a new filling results in temperature, pressure, or contact pain. A quick adjustment or replacement typically resolves any sensitivity caused by the filling.

How Long Do Fillings Last?

With good oral hygiene and avoidance of chewing hard items, an intact filling can last 10-15 years. But fractures, chipping, leaking, and decay may shorten longevity. See your dentist near you every six months to ensure fillings remain functional.

Regular dental visits allow early identification and repair of failing restorations before major damage occurs. Don’t wait until you have pain or severe issues.