If you’ve recently had a dental filling and are experiencing ear pain, you may be wondering if the two are related. In some cases, ear pain can be a side effect of dental work. In this blog post, we’ll explore post-filling pain, the possible causes of ear pain after dental filling procedure, how to manage the pain, and when to seek medical attention.
You go to the dentist to get relief from pain, but you’re experiencing even more after having your cavity filled! The good news is, most of the time, this pain is normal and will go away after a few days. However, knowing what kind of pain is normal can help you know whether you should wait it out or head right back to the dentist’s chair.
Soreness of your mouth is very common after having a cavity filled, especially around the area of the affected tooth. It is also common to experience jaw pain. This happens because you’ve had to hold your jaw open for an extended period of time while the dentist works their magic. Sensitivity is also a common side-effect of having a cavity filled. Normal pain caused by a filling should disappear within a few days. If it lasts longer, you should contact your dentist.
Pain when biting down isn’t a typical side-effect of having a cavity filled. However, it can be caused by cavity filling. This happens when the filling is too high, giving you an abnormal bite. It can be difficult to determine if the bite is abnormal in the office because the mouth has been numbed. Your dentist can remedy this by simply drilling the excess filling away. Pain when biting down can also be caused by a cracked tooth or filling. Sharp, pulsing pain typically indicates more serious problems with your oral health, so you should always contact your dentist when experiencing these symptoms.
What to Expect After the Filling
During the procedure, the dentist will always numb the area around the affected tooth to avoid any pain and discomfort. You will probably not feel any pain within the first hour after the procedure. You might start noticing some unusual sensation in your mouth once the numbness wears off. These include:
- Tenderness in your gums
- Pain in your teeth, especially when taking hot or cold foods and beverages and breathing cold air
- Pain when clenching
- Pain in the teeth surrounding the filling
What Causes Throbbing Pain and Sensitivity After a Dental Filling?
In most cases, throbbing pain and sensitivity are normal and temporary after a dental filling. However, the pain and sensitivity may be due to other causes that might require attention from the dentist. Here are some of the causes:
- An Irritated Nerve
One may experience short-term nerve sensitivity because the filling has aggravated a nerve or has caused inflammation in the nerve inside the tooth. The tooth structure consists of several layers; the outer one is the enamel, followed by the dentine and then the pulp, which contains nerve endings. Sometimes the filling can come close to the nerve ending and cause some irritation. However, as the tooth heals, the throbbing pain and sensitivity will slowly go away.
- Incorrect Bite
The dentist needs to make sure that the filling is in line with other teeth in the mouth. If the tooth is taller than the others, it can cause some extra pressure while biting down. This can cause pain and severe sensitivity. It is normal to feel some pain and sensitivity while biting down, which wears off after some time, but if the pain is unbearable, make sure you visit your dentist right away.
Possible Causes of Ear Pain after Dental Filling
There are a few ways that dental work can cause ear pain. Here are the most common causes:
The proximity of the Ears to the Teeth
The proximity of the ears to the teeth means that both areas share some of the same nerves. This means that pain or pressure in the teeth or jaw can be felt in the ears.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
TMJ is a condition that affects the joint that connects the skull to the jaw. When this joint is inflamed or misaligned, it can cause pain in the ear.
Sinus infections can cause pain in the teeth and ears. This is because the sinuses are located near the teeth and ears, and the pressure from the infection can spread to those areas.
Infection or Inflammation in the Mouth
If the filling is deep or large, it can cause inflammation in the mouth. This inflammation can spread to the ear and cause pain.
Managing Ear Pain after Dental Filling
Cavity fillings aren’t fun, but they are necessary to protect your health. There are several ways that you can reduce pain after dental procedures. Ensure that you brush your teeth gently and avoid aggravating the area. Avoid extremely hot or cold foods following a dental procedure. Use toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth.
If you are experiencing ear pain after dental filling, there are a few things you can do to manage the pain. Here are some tips:
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage the pain.
A warm compress can help alleviate the pain and reduce inflammation in the area.
Salt Water Rinse
Gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.
Avoid Chewing on That Side
Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth with the dental filling to prevent further irritation.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If the ear pain persists or gets worse after a few days, it’s important to seek medical attention. You should also seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Swelling in the ear
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Pus or discharge from the ear
- Difficulty hearing
Ear pain after dental filling is not uncommon, but it’s important to understand the possible causes and how to manage the pain. If the pain persists or gets worse, seek medical attention to ensure that there are no underlying infections or complications. Remember to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly to prevent further dental issues.