Why do cavities hurt?

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Although cavities are a common dental issue, many patients are apprehensive about having them filled. Patients would like to experience as little discomfort as possible, and we sympathize with that opinion. However, if a cavity is left untreated it can lead to more serious dental problems. Cavities which are left alone never get better. It is important to visit us if you have a toothache or pain on your gum line so we can see if you need a cavity filled.


If we find a cavity during your dental exam it is important to have your cavity filled. Usually this will only require one additional visit. During that visit we will numb your gum by giving you a shot of local anesthetic. We tell patients it feels like a sharp pinch when the needle breaks the surface of the gum. Some find this uncomfortable, but it only lasts for a few seconds. These few seconds of discomfort will save you from feeling anything else during the procedure.

After you are numb, we go to work to remove the decayed portion of your tooth. At this point, you will hear our dental instruments, but you should not feel any discomfort. After we have removed all the decayed material, we will clean out the area before inserting a dental filling. We have several different types of filling materials available, and we will discuss the best option for you prior to filling your cavity. Regardless of the material we choose, we will fill the tooth and then shape the filling material accordingly. Lastly, we will polish the tooth.

After the procedure, your gum and lips may continue to feel numb for a couple hours. This does not hurt but is more of a nuisance. It is important to abstain from extremely hot or cold foods while your mouth is numb.


Having a cavity filled means you will experience a few seconds of discomfort. However, these moments can save you from bigger problems. Stop by our office or give us a call today to schedule your routine cleaning and exam. We are happy to discuss with you the best way to remedy your cavity.