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Deep filling?

I had a regular dental x-ray which showed up that I needed a filling. I had no pain prior to this to the tooth in question. After the filling, the dentist advised that the decay was towards the bottom of my tooth and that it was towards my nerve.

After the filling, my tooth was sore for the first day and got better by day 2/3. By day 3 I was in severe agony. My tooth was so tender I could not touch it or brush. I called the dentist and got a quick checkup. My filling was intact and I was given antibiotics for 7 days. The dentist said if it does not get better then the nerve will need to be removed.

By day 2 I was getting better but the pain is still very up and down. I understand that after a deep filling the tooth can go through trauma etc especially as it was near the nerve however my symptoms are that the tooth is very very sore and tender to the touch not much throbbing. What does this indicate? Will an infection come back? Do I need a root canal? What's the difference between nerve removal and root canal?

Female | 28 years old
Complaint duration: 7
Medications: Contraceptive pill and asthma inhaler
Conditions: Asthma

5 Answers

Those are great questions. Deep cavities can come close to the nerve. Teeth have pores so sometimes even when there is not an obvious hole or bleeding coming from the nerve an infection can occur. This is because bacteria are microscopic and can swim through the pores and sometimes get into the nerve when a cavity gets close enough to the nerve. Also,
sometimes teeth don't need Root Canal Therapy after a deep filling and they are only sensitive because of the surgery and need time to heal. These teeth progressively get better over time. If a tooth is becoming more painful over time, it is one of two things: One, it has an infection, or two, the filling/crown is too high and getting hit sooner than the other teeth. This last one is a common occurrence because as patients are numb they don't know how to bring their teeth together in the correct way all the time. This makes it so that sometimes the fillings/crowns are shaped incorrectly and a simple adjustment is needed. If you close your teeth slowly together and find that any teeth including the one that is hurting get touched first it could be traumatized by all the extra pressure it is handling and a simple adjustment may fix the problem and avoid the need for a Root Canal. In answer to your other question, Root Canal Therapy and removing the nerve are the same. Inside every tooth's roots are tiny nerves and blood vessels that can get infected. If they get infected you can preserve the tooth by removing the infected tissue and placing special fillings to seal up the tooth and keep infection out.

Dr. Bishop
Nerve removal is the same as root canal. it is a procedure done to remove dead or infected nerve that causes lingering pain. to determine if you truly need root canal there is special test the dentist can do. if you are not having pain that is spontaneous and/or last for hours and is sore to touch most likely your filling is high or that your bite needs to be adjusted. also if you are not having cold and hot sensitivity mostly like you won't need root canal. I would have your dentist adjust your bite. hope this helps
The pain is either from the nerve dying due to the decay or trauma from removing the decay OR it’s a high bite. I’m sure the dentists checked and adjusted the bite at your follow up visit, but if not, ask him to. The main cause for pain after a new filling is placed is high bite. This tooth should not touch before any other in your mouth. If the bite is good, get the root canal.

For your other questions: if it is infected, the pain will return usually 3 weeks after getting off the antibiotic.

There is no difference. A root canal is when we remove the bad nerve.
This is more common that you may think. All the dentist saw was decay in your tooth. If you had not done anything, after a few months you would have had a tooth ache anyways. Now, if 2 weeks after the filling was done, your tooth is cold sensitive, tender to touch and at times you have spontaneous pain, most likely you need to have the nerve removed, commonly know as “Root canal treatment”. If the pain went away you should have the dentist x Ray the tooth in 6 months to make sure everything is ok.
The purpose of root canal treatment (RCT) is to remove the infection by "emptying" out the nerve space, so RCT is technically the same as nerve removal. Post op pain after a deep filling does not necessary mean that you would need RCT. Since I haven't seen your xray, so I can't tell you what exactly is going on. However, sometime the filling can trap "air bubbles", and it can irritate the dentin tissue and cause discomfort/pain. I would have your dentist re-exterminate that tooth if re-doing the filling (add liner this time) would help before you move onto RCT. Have him show you how close the filling is to the nerve space on the X-ray. Good luck! Hope you feel better soon.