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Dentistry/Pain after dentist forgot to place filling


I had 2 appointments for fillings, split up by right and left side of mouth. The right side was completed without much problem. After the left side was done, I noticed a throbbing pain as soon as the medicine wore off a few hours later and that night I noticed a hole in my tooth. It was the weekend so I had to wait until Monday for a response.
They saw me 3 days later. The tooth was sensitive but not a horrible pain. I had to avoid anything that was not room temp.
Long story short, after the dentist tried to tell me that sensitivity was normal for weeks after a filling and that he saw nothing, he looked one more time at my insistence and realized that they had prepped the tooth (drilled and everything) and then forgotten to fill it. It was just below my gum line on my last molar. They filled it immediately and at the same time he told me that they had missed a spot on the opposite side, same tooth they had worked on 2 weeks prior and they prepped and filled a second filling in that tooth.
Now, the tooth that was prepped and open for a few days is hurting still almost 3 weeks later. It seems to be worse in the evenings and it is keeping me up at night. It radiates into my cheekbone. The tooth is sensitive to cold/heat and I have to be gentle brushing that area, but the pain is a deep throb.
Pressing on the hinge of my jaw seems to help a bit. I can chew, touch my teeth together etc. with no pain. Is it possible that this pain is my jaw (I was dx'd with TMJ many years ago but rarely have problems) or should I be worrying about something like an abscess forming?

Dear Marcus,

From the sound of your story, I would guess that you have a combined tooth nerve and TMJ issue.  The nerve inside the tooth is inflamed and sensitive (like an open wound on your skin might be sensitive to touch and temperature change), and there is pain radiating from this irritated nerve.  Plus, your jaw might be sensitive, likely due to your clenching habit.  While I can't rule out an abscess forming, I would not rush to this conclusion.  If I were your dentist, and if you have non-prescription ibuprofen (Advil), I would advise you to take 2 or 3 tablets every 4 hours until 2 full days after the sensitivity has passed. And stay on a soft diet.

But since I'm not your dentist, and you do have a dentist, I will advise you to contact your dentist and let him know that you're having a problem.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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