Putting off dental treatment will NOT save you ANY money...
If you need dental work performed but find yourself putting it off due to costs or lack of insurance coverage, unfortunately, you’re not alone. We encourage our patients to visit us every 6 months for their Preventative Care Appointment. Catching the problem early is much easier and less expensive to deal with than waiting for a problem to occur. Whatever your dental needs are today, they are less than what your dental needs will likely be in the future, if untreated. Unlike other health issues, an unhealthy mouth may not “hurt”. Once a patient is in pain, it is likely that the dental disease is at an advanced stage. Also, unlike other health issues, tooth decay and gum disease will not heal with “rest” like a sore muscle or sprained foot. Decay and gum disease must be treated to stop further deterioration.
Below is a good example of how expensive delaying treatment on a cavity really can be.
Cavities are the start of tooth decay. Our hygienists and doctors can catch a cavity in its early stages during your preventative care appointment. Ignoring a cavity, however, can end up causing more trouble and costing far more than you imagined. To help you understand how much leaving a cavity untreated could cost you, let’ go through the stages of tooth decay.
The first thing a cavity will do is break down the hard white outer layer of your tooth called enamel. The enamel covers the soft nerves underneath your teeth. Sensitivity and pain will start as the cavity progresses and gets closer to the nerve. If caught early in the decaying process, a cavity is relatively simple to fix.
If a filling is left untreated: After the breakdown of enamel, the bacteria in your mouth that are exposed to sugar and carbohydrates from your food will start to make acid that can destroy the second layer of your teeth which covers the nerve. While the tooth may still be salvageable at this point, instead of a basic filling, you’ll need a whole new layer of covering for your tooth, or a dental crown. A crown will completely restore the function and look of your damaged tooth, but is MORE COSTLY than a filling and requires 2 appointments.
If a crown is left untreated: After the cavity eats away at the tooth surface covering the nerves and invades the soft part of the tooth, a Root Canal is necessary. A Root Canal can take up to 2 hours, and a Crown is still necessary to protect the tooth after the Root Canal is completed. If your tooth is damaged or broken beyond repair, your next option is an extraction and you will be left with a missing tooth.
If the missing tooth is not replaced: As soon as a tooth is lost the bone will gradually decline and the teeth on either side will shift or tip into the empty space. If there is a tooth directly above or below the space it will over erupt, as there will not be anything to prevent it from coming out of the gum tissue. The movements could create gum problems, periodontal disease, decay and could lead to the loss of other teeth. As you lose more teeth, you will be forced to chew in other areas, and this often leads to tooth fracture which eventually will require a crown.