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Does It Hurt When You Get Cavities Filled?


It's natural to be concerned or anxious about getting cavities repaired in your tooth.

It is possible for fillings to cause discomfort in some patients. However, the majority of them only produce minimal to nonexistent pain during the process.

Take a few deep breaths and keep reading if you are avoiding going to the dentist because you are terrified of the pain that you will experience there. We will describe the process of cavity filling and let you know what to anticipate in terms of the level of pain or discomfort you may experience.

What factors influence how painful a filling procedure will be?

If you have a cavity in your tooth, your dentist will almost certainly advise you to get it filled as soon as humanly possible.

In order to alleviate the discomfort that cavities can cause and to remove the risk of a more serious infection, fillings are often performed. If the cavity is not treated, it can spread to the pulp of the tooth, which is extremely painful.

Cavities that are left untreated can result in the need for more invasive procedures, such as root canal therapy or tooth extraction.

When you get a cavity filled, your dentist will remove the decay that is already present in the tooth and then restore the tooth to its normal shape. This improves the health of your mouth and makes it feel more comfortable.

Your dentist will talk to you about what to anticipate throughout the operation, as well as the extent to which it will go. This is dependent on a number of different aspects. Here are some of the potential causes of discomfort during a filling procedure:

Measurements of the cavities width and depth

Decay of teeth is an ongoing process. It manifests as initially as white patches on the tooth enamel, which are brought on by minute amounts of mineral loss. Through maintaining good oral hygiene or receiving fluoride treatments, you can help put a halt to tooth decay.

On the other hand, if the enamel of the tooth continues to wear away, you can develop a cavity that needs to be filled.

Cavities that are found to be relatively little and treated at an early stage are the most straightforward and expedient to treat. If your cavity isn't particularly deep, you may not feel very much discomfort at all.

It is important to bear in mind that topical numbing gel does not numb the tooth tissue; rather, it numbs only the gums themselves so that the needle does not cause any pain or discomfort while the injection is being administered.

Some individuals suffer from a fear of needles, which causes them to dread getting the injection more than any other aspect of the process. However, other individuals only dislike the numb feeling that continues to exist in the face and tongue after a cavity has been filled.

A local application of numbing gel may be all that is necessary to fully remove any discomfort felt in the gums in certain cases. In any other case, your dentist will be able to halt the drilling and give you an injection of anesthetic if you start to feel any pain during the procedure.

Cavities that are deeper necessitate the removal of further deterioration and require more time to fill. In addition, deep cavities are located closer to the tooth's nerve ends than shallower cavities. During the process, these particular kinds of cavities have the potential to produce a greater amount of discomfort.

If you don't have a particularly high threshold for discomfort, your dentist may probably suggest getting an injection of anesthesia before working on deep cavities.

Where the cavity is located on the tooth

There are three different kinds of cavities, namely:

  • cavities with a smooth surface, which develop on the lateral walls of the mouth
  • cavities known as pits and fissures, which can be found on the chewing surfaces of molars
  • root cavities, which are holes that develop close to the roots of teeth

When detected in their early stages, the vast majority of root cavities can be treated with relative ease. Small root cavities can typically be simply filled with local anesthesia.

Because the cementum at the base of the tooth is a softer substance, it can decay considerably more rapidly than the rest of the tooth. Roots that are exposed as a result of receding gums are also susceptible to decay due to the fact that roots are not as durable as enamel.

Periodontal disease, often known as gum disease, is the cause of these types of cavities almost all of the time. The gums pull away from the teeth as a result of periodontal disease, exposing the sensitive root surface of the tooth.

The total amount of cavities

If you have multiple cavities in the same region of your mouth, your dentist may suggest treating all of them at the same time to save you time.

Because of this, the treatment could take significantly longer, which could result in increased discomfort. During the operation, you will be required to keep your mouth open for an extended amount of time, which may result in discomfort in the jaw or nausea.

It is possible that the extended process will require you to get extra anesthetic.

What kinds of numbing agents are there to choose from?

It is the purpose of numbing medications to eliminate or significantly lessen feelings of pain and discomfort.

Your dentist will provide a local anesthetic (such lidocaine, benzocaine, or epinephrine) in order to numb your tooth, gum, and jaw before performing the procedure. Because the nerves in your mouth won't be able to send any pain signals to your brain when these agents are present, you won't feel any discomfort when the dentist starts to drill into your teeth. There may be a tiny degree of discomfort that is described as a light sting, but this is simply an indication that the anesthetic is doing its job and the pain should subside shortly.

It's possible that your dentist has a personal preference for a particular brand. Talk to your dentist about the anesthetic they intend to use and the reasons they believe it will be most beneficial for you.

The following are some of the common numbing drugs that are used:

  • Lidocaine. This is one of the numbing gels that is used the most frequently. Additionally, it is administered intravenously as an anesthetic.
  • Benzocaine. This is also used as a numbing gel for adults and children over the age of 2, and can be purchased over the counter.
  • Epinephrine. When combined with the anesthetic, this component can assist the anesthetic take effect more quickly and maintain its effects for a longer period of time.

If you know or suspect that you have an allergy to any of these drugs or to any other kind dental anesthesia, be careful to let your dentist know.

If you're anxious, you might also find relief from nitrous oxide (commonly known as laughing gas), which is delivered to the patient in the form of a breathing mask that covers the nose. Nitrous oxide can be used to lessen the sensation of pain, but its primary purpose is to calm fear and anxiety.

Is there pain after a filling?

After the operation, it is possible that your tooth can feel unpleasant or sensitive for up to two days.

It is natural to feel some discomfort, and it should only last for a short time. If you are experiencing substantial discomfort or observe any swelling or pus, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. This could be an indication that you have an infection or that you require extra treatment, such as a root canal.

Any sensitivity or mild pain may become more severe if you consume something that is either extremely hot or extremely cold. It's possible that breathing in chilly air will also make your teeth tingle or feel painful.

It's also possible that, for the next several days, your gums will feel raw or sore, particularly when you clean or floss your teeth.

Why Take Such a Risk? The use of fillings is preferable to the alternative.

If you are still nervous about getting a filling, it may assist to understand why one would get a filling in the first place if you want to reduce your anxiety about the procedure. Cavities are the reason why we need to have fillings. Cavities, also known as decaying areas in teeth, can be recognized on a tooth's surface as the appearance of very small holes. Acids released by harmful bacteria known as plaque, which adheres to your teeth and feeds on food debris that is left in your mouth after meals, are the root cause of these problems.

If cavities are not filled and allowed to progress unchecked, the decay can get so severe that it reaches the nerve within the bone, causing excruciating agony. This can happen if cavities are not filled and allowed to progress unchecked. If the cavity continues to spread and reaches the gum, it is possible that this may also cause a great deal of discomfort, and it may even lead to an infection. Ultimately, the tooth will be lost.

When cavities have progressed to this stage, the essential treatments consist of more intensive procedures such as root canals and extractions. The discomfort associated with these treatments is significantly worse than that of getting a filling. As a consequence of this, getting a filling is invariably the best alternative that comes with the fewest adverse consequences.

It is not necessary for patients to feel anxious when receiving treatment for oral health issues or having cavities filled. At Summerlin Dental Solutions, our highly trained and empathetic dental specialists are able to attend to all of your dental requirements and ensure that you leave our office with a smile. Make an appointment with one of our in-house specialists here at Summerlin Dental Solutions in Las Vegas to get a cavity filled if you believe you may have one. You may get an appointment for the same day by calling the number (702)341-9160 today.



Dr. Marianne Cohan was voted The Best Dentist/ Dental Office and Best Cosmetic Dentist from The Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2020 and 2021. She received her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1992.

dr. cohan

With an emphasis on cosmetic dentistry, complete makeovers, and implant dentistry, Dr. Cohan is committed to continuing education and feels that we never stop learning.  Dr. Cohan takes pride in using high-powered magnification to perform minimally invasive restorative dentistry. She uses all the latest technological advances including digital radiography, digital photography, computer simulations, and high-resolution pictures of your proposed treatment on 55-inch screens.  She also utilizes CBCT (cone beam) and laser technology.

Dr. Cohan is always available to her patients and is available for any dental emergency.


851 S Rampart Blvd #230, Las Vegas, NV 89145 | (702) 341-9160
851 S Rampart Blvd #230, Las Vegas, NV 89145 | (702) 341-9160