I had a composite filling with a ceramic cap done on tooth # 19 two weeks ago. Ever since I have been in severe pain in my jaw and often from the top of my head to the middle of my neck only on the left side. I have been living on Ibuprofen 3-4 times a day. The pain is about an 8 on a scale of 10 being the worst.
The dentist said was because I was grinding my teeth, so I bought a night guard and that was no help. So he proceeded to grind my tooth down to fix my bite, but I am still in a lot of pain! Is this normal? Should I get a second opinion? What specialist should I see? Thank you, Charlotte from Indiana
I’m not sure what you mean by a composite filling with a ceramic cap. Cap is a lay term for a crown. A filling just replaces decayed or weak tooth structure. A cap or a crown covers the entire tooth.
It certainly doesn’t sound like your pain was from grinding your teeth. If your bite is adjusted properly, grinding your teeth won’t cause pain in a single tooth.
There are lots of kinds of pain that can occur in a tooth, and when we’re examining that, we try to find what provokes the pain or makes it worse. Constant, severe pain usually means that the tooth is infected. If cold brings on pain that goes away once the tooth warms up, the tooth is just irritated. Pain to biting could mean that the bite needs to be adjusted, or it could mean that the tooth is abscessed or that there is some infection in the ligament that holds the tooth in the bone.
Severe pain right after a filling is placed could mean that the tooth had a slight infection before the filling, which was aggravated by doing the filling. Or, if it is a bonded white filling, improper technique could also cause post-operative pain.
In your situation, I would get a second opinion. It doesn’t sound like your dentist is on the right track. I don’t think you need a specialist, just a good, thorough, careful general dentist who understands tooth pain.
Read about tooth pain after a new filling.
Read more about toothache – the various types of tooth pain and what cause them.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.