Sunset Dentistry

Why does it hurt when I bite down after a filling?

After a filling you might notice that your bite feels differently than it did before your dental appointment.  Your dentist will check your bite at the end of your procedure but most of the time you are numb and can’t tell what feels “normal”.  Once the numbness wears off, you might notice a change in your bite.

Over time, it might hurt to bite down, give you a zing, or you might notice cold sensitivity.  This is common.  Most likely your new filling is taller than your teeth are used to and needs to be adjusted.  The topography of your tooth before and after the filling will never be exactly the same.  Some people have a higher acuity for this change.

If this is the case for you, you’ll want to call your dental office.  Your dentist will adjust your bite on that tooth and symptoms should resolve.  Your dentist will use marking paper to identify which area to adjust.  Depending on how long you were going around with this filling being high, it takes about 10-14 days for full resolution of symptoms.


filling, adjust filling, occlusion, bite check, articulating paper


But why does your tooth then have cold sensitivity when your bite is high? There is a ligament that holds the tooth in the socket.  When your filling is high, the tooth is getting hit sooner than it is used to and the ligament gets sore.  This pain is transmitted as cold sensitivity.  Relieving the tooth will eliminate the pain.

I like the analogy of having a rock in your shoe.  At first you notice but it’s not troublesome.  The more you walk, the more you notice the rock and it becomes irritating.  Eventually it will cause you to form a blister, bleed, and hurt.  When you remove the rock at this point, your foot will still hurt because of the initial insult.  A few days later the area of trauma will heal and you’ll be walking back to normal.  Makes sense right?



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Botox can treat more than just wrinkles

Did you know botox therapy can help reduce clenching and grinding?  Clenching and grinding is also known as bruxism.  This therapy can also reduce the headaches that come along with it.  While the etiology of bruxism is mostly unknown, we do know that stress, sleep apnea, and an uneven bite can contribute to it.

But what is botox?  Most people think of this when they think of botox:

This is an example of too much treatment.  But seriously, botox therapy has created a lot of relief for many people.  The muscles that are responsible for closing your jaw get overworked in bruxers.  They become bulky and larger in mass which allows them to produce more power.  This is bad news for your teeth and cause fractures and pain.  These fractures can lead to tooth loss.

The goal of botox therapy is to reduce the amount of power these muscles can generate.  Over time, the muscles atrophy or reduce in mass.  This further reduces the destruction these muscles can cause.  But how bad could it be?  Here’s what grinding can do to your teeth:

You might be wondering what you’re looking at up there.  These teeth have flattened edges, are discolored, and have been shortened due to this process.

Botox therapy lasts anywhere from 3-6 months for most people.  Since botox is a reversible treatment, repeated therapy is recommended for most people.

Are Clear Aligners for me?

I’ve been asked multiple times whether a patient is a good candidate for clear aligners.  At my practice we use Invisalign to provide clear aligners that will move teeth like braces would.  Now, Invisalign’s technology is capable of doing more complex movements than ten years ago.  More than 80% of my patients can use Invisalign over traditional metal braces.  The major thing to be aware of is that it is a time commitment.  Invisalign will work, if you wear the aligners.  That seems obvious but when you’re in the thick of it, you may find your old daily habits need a little tweaking.

For those of you who sip on coffee all morning or snack multiple times a day, these habits will need to be altered.  The good news is that these habits aren’t the best for your teeth in the first place.  As a dentist, my favorite thing about Invisalign is that it gets patients to build better oral hygiene habits for themselves.  When you take your aligners out to eat, you need to brush and floss your teeth before putting your aligners back in.  This means you are now flossing and brushing three times a day.  You may even notice your teeth appearing whiter and having fresher breath.

Here’s an example of how Invisalign was used to correct the crowding and overlapping of teeth.  This case took the patient just under a year.  The best option is to see a certified Invisalign provider and have them assess your teeth.  Of course you’ll want to make sure you don’t have any cavities or gum disease first.

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