Pain from Composite Filling

I recently had my first composite filling done. I sort of had to pressure my dentist into it because he usually places the old silver amalgam fillings. He finally relented and agreed. Since then, my tooth hurts when I chew. Oddly, it doesn’t hurt under normal circumstances. I can even clench my teeth and nothing. But, if I am chewing there is a sharp pain which lasts a second. Did my dentist do something wrong?


Dear Aaron,

While composite fillings are far superior to their amalgam dental filling compatriots, the procedure for bonding them is completely different. If your dentist does not normally place them, he will not be aware of the different techniques needed.

I wonder if you had a small filling placed. The pain you described is an unusual phenomenon we see mostly with small composite fillings. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent the problem, or in your case, fix the problem.

If a dentist uses either a self-etching primer or a glass ionomer base, we are seeing this issue practically eliminated. I would talk to your dentist about the problem and ask him to re-do the fillings using a glass ionomer base.

I am surprised your dentist is still almost exclusively placing amalgam fillings. Most dentists have moved on to the composite technology which is healthier for your teeth and contains no mercury. It may be time for you to find a dentist who is more interested in keeping up with the technology and advancements in his or her field.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Premium Home Teeth Whitening

I keep receiving a Groupon order for Premium Home Teeth Whitening. Is this something worth investing in? I’ve always wanted to whiten my teeth but never really talked to my dentist about it.


Dear Amy,

teeth whitening trays
teeth bleaching trays

After looking this over, I can tell you that the whitening ingredient they use is legitimate. It will whiten your teeth. That is the good news. The only real bad news is it will not be as effective as you’d hope, even though they do have a good percentage of their active ingredient.

The reason for that is the whitening trays. Pictured above are the type of teeth whitening trays you would get with your dentist. These are custom fit to your bite. This serves to protect the whitening gel, as well as your gums.

The trays that come with this kit are not fit to your bite. It’s a DIY. This means that your saliva will leak into the trays, thereby weakening the gel. It also means some of the gel will leak out. This not only means less whitening potential for your teeth, but it can put your gums at risk. There have even been cases where patients ended up needing a root canal treatment from using an over-the-counter whitening kit.

My suggestion is you simply talk to your dentist about your desire to whiten your teeth. The cost of Premium Teeth Whitening is not that much less than what your dentist would charge you. Ask him or her if they would be willing to come down on their price a little or allow you to pay out the current cost. Most dentists are happy to find ways to help their patients afford dental work. I think you’ll end up much happier with your results that way.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.