Does Getting a Tooth Filling Hurt?

Dental anxiety - fear of going to the dentist - is a very common issue. Research studies reveal that as many as 80 percent of adults are afraid of going to the dentist!

One main reason why people don't want to visit the dentist, even for a dental wellness checkup, is fear of pain. Unfortunately, thinking about questions like "do fillings hurt?" can cause even more fear and anxiety to arise, blocking the patient from seeking care.


Past dental trauma is one reason some people stay away from the dentist. But what is important to know is that dental technology has come a very long way even in just the last few years! Many formerly uncomfortable treatments are now relatively painless. This article looks at one common treatment: dental cavities.

How Common Are Dental Caries (Cavities)?

Cavities affect up to 92 percent of people today (this statistic exempts the estimated five percent of people who don't have any teeth)!

What this tells us is that cavities are quite common and most people will experience having a dental cavity at some point in their life.

This also means that filling cavities is one of the most common procedures that dentists do and so most dentists have a great deal of experience with filling cavities.

What Is It Like to Get a Tooth Filling?

The general procedure for filling a cavity begins with numbing the treatment area and sometimes even sedating the person depending on personal preferences and medical needs. For patients who have been experiencing pain from tooth decay, this can bring instant relief.

A topical anesthetic ensures you won't feel pain from injected anesthetic. For patients with unusually small mouths, jaw mobility issues, nervous dispositions or more difficult decay issues, the option is often given to have additional sedation via gas or IV.

Only after the anesthetic has taken full affect will your dentist begin to clean the tooth and apply the treatment. Filling the tooth is the last step in the process of treating a dental cavity.

What Does It Feel Like After Having a Tooth Filled?

Patients are often worried about the pain they will feel while in the dentist's chair being treated for a cavity. Another common fear is that they will feel pain after leaving the dentist's office when the anesthetic wears off.

Dentists typically either prescribe use of over-the-counter pain relief medications or prescription pain medications to ease any post-treating discomfort you may feel. Sometimes you may also be given a prescription for antibiotics to support faster healing from tooth decay.

But most patients describe surprisingly little discomfort - maybe some tenderness or soreness at or near the treatment site.

Do Fillings Hurt?

In summary, tooth fillings generally cause minimal to no pain during or after treatment. Strategic use of pain medications can ease temporary discomfort as needed. Choosing an experienced dentist and discussing your concerns ahead of your procedure can help ease anxiety and promote faster healing.