In a recent checkup, my wife’s dentist found three cavities. She wanted them filled with white fillings, which the dentist did. After the white fillings, she started to experience pain in all three teeth, and the teeth had not bothered her before.
When she visited the dentist, he told her to wait a week to see if the pain stopped. It didn’t. He prescribed antibiotics. The pain remains. He redid the fillings, and the teeth still hurt.
The pain is constant. Just breathing brings on extra pain, as well as chewing or even her tongue rubbing against the teeth. This has been going on for five weeks now.
—Stephen in Ontario
I’m suspecting that your wife was the one that brought up doing white fillings—that the dentist was going to do amalgam fillings but she said, “no, I want white.” Am I right? The reason I think this is that this sounds like a case where the dentist really didn’t know how to do the white fillings, that he was operating out of his comfort zone in a desire to please her.
I’d recommend going to another dentist to see at this point if anything can be done to ease the toothache without having to go to root canal treatment. Go to one of the dentists on our list of recommended dentists—any of them will know all the proper techniques for doing white fillings on back teeth.
Most dentists weren’t taught in dental school how to do these white fillings on back teeth, and the technique is very demanding. Any of a dozen different things can go wrong. The pain that she is experiencing after these white fillings could be from the cavity being contaminated with saliva during the procedure. The pain could also come from incomplete sealing of the cavity, from incomplete curing of the filling material, or from too rapid curing of a bulk of filling material in the tooth.
Other questions about white fillings on back teeth:
- How much do white fillings cost?
- A dentist wants to put a white composite filling over a patient’s amalgam filling rather than replace it completely. Is this a good idea?
- General information about white fillings compared with amalgam fillings.
- David from New York has a dentist who wants to put a silver filling in his upper second molar.
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This content was written by Dr. David Hall.