I lost a filling. How do I know if it’s an emergency?
Fillings not only replace an area of the decayed/missing tooth, but they “seal” the more vulnerable inside of the tooth off from the outside environment. With that being said, it is very important to treat a missing filling as an urgent matter before it does become a true emergency. If left untreated, an exposed tooth can lead to an unneeded root canal or even worse, tooth loss. Fillings are typically lost due to "recurrent" decay around them or a crack in them due to bite force. If recurrent decay is the culprit, and it becomes too deep, it can infect the "nerve" which is what most patients will call an emergency. The infected nerve starts to throb and becomes sensitive to cold/hot temperatures, thus indicating the need for a root canal or tooth removal.