Why Do I Have Tooth Sensitivity After Dental Work?

Sensitive teeth can be common following a trip to the dentist, especially if you’ve had a cavity filled, a deep cleaning, or a whitening procedure. Learn each cause of sensitivity, what to expect, and how to care for your teeth before and after your visit.

Talking to a dentist about tooth sensivity

Sensitivity After a Cavity Filling

A filling can be somewhat stressful on a tooth, and it’s not unusual to feel tooth pain after a filling. Sensitivity after a cavity filling depends on the technique and materials your dentist used to fill the cavity as well as the health of your tooth. After a filling, your tooth may be sensitive to cold, hot, or sweets. Typically, tooth sensitivity resolves on its own within a few weeks.*

Sensitivity After a Deep Cleaning

In order to deep clean your teeth, your dentist must go above and below the gum line to remove all of the plaque and tartar. Following the procedure, your gums may be swollen, feel tender, or bleed, and your teeth can feel sensitive for up to two weeks.*

Sensitivity After a Whitening Treatment

During professional bleaching treatments with peroxide, depending on the concentration and length of time peroxide is exposed to the tooth surface, it can pass through the enamel and reach the nerve which can cause irritation. In most cases, this sensitivity is only temporary.*

Pre- and Post-Procedure Care Tips

Brushing twice a day with a desensitizing toothpaste like Sensodyne can help relieve and also protect against sensitivity pain. In addition, remember to practice good oral care habits, like flossing daily, using a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush and eating a balanced diet to limit sugary beverages and snacks, to help maintain healthy teeth.

procedure care tips

*If sensitivity does not subside after 2 to 4 weeks following one of these procedures, be sure to speak to your dentist.