Have a Cavity? 4 Reasons You Need to Seek Treatment Right Away
In our fast-paced world, taking time off to go to the dentist is often placed low on the priority totem pole. Most people believe that if they had a cavity, they would have pain or discomfort. The truth is that most cavities are painless early on. By the time they do cause pain, there may be more extensive work needed to fix the cavity. When a cavity is not treated right away it can lead to pain, infection, time away from work or social obligations, and more expensive treatment options.
Small cavities can turn into much bigger problems in the future. While a cavity may not be causing discomfort or pain right away, once it gets bigger and progresses close to the nerve of the tooth, it can cause major pain and even more complex issues. Infections can occur within the nerve of the tooth, leading to extensive dental treatments, like root canals. If left to fester, these infections can progress into the jaw bone or into the soft tissue of the gums. These infections can cause defects in the mouth and significant pain.
Expensive Treatment Options
A root canal is an extensive treatment to remove an infected nerve of the tooth. During the root canal, the dentist drills a hole into the tooth and removes the nerve. Depending on the extent of the nerve disease, medication may be applied inside the canal to combat any infection. The canal is then sealed with a type of cement in order to strengthen the tooth and to ensure nothing can enter the canal. Depending on the extent of the decay in the tooth, a crown may be necessary to further strengthen the tooth. Root canals involve lengthy dental appointments and time away from work and other activities.
Sometimes, when cavities are not treated early, they become invasive and painful enough that a tooth extraction may be necessary. While the extraction itself is usually less expensive than other treatments, like root canals and crowns, it will necessitate a replacement in the future. This can be accomplished through dentures, bridges, or implants, all of which are more expensive than a traditional filling.
If a cavity is not treated right away, it can actually spread to the surrounding teeth. This is especially common when cavities begin between the teeth. These types of cavities are difficult to detect without the help of an x-ray, which is why bi-annual dental appointments are so important. When these types of cavities are left untreated, there are now two teeth that are susceptible to further complications like infections or extensive dental work. These increase the cost of treatment.
According to Hagstrom Dental, a dentistry that specializes in dental fillings in Rochester, MN, when cavities are detected and treated early on, dental fillings can be used to seal them off and stop them from spreading to surrounding structures. To have a filling placed, the dentist will remove the decay from the tooth, leaving behind a cleaned out cavity to fill. There are a few different types of material that can be used to fill the cavity, including amalgam, gold, composite, or a porcelain inlay. Most people opt to have either amalgam or composite fillings. Composite fillings are tooth colored and can be matched to the shade of the teeth, making them blend in and look natural. Amalgam fillings are less expensive, but are a darker, silver color, and are primarily used on the back teeth due to their appearance. Gold and porcelain are more expensive alternatives to traditional filling materials.
No one enjoys taking time out of their busy lives to go to the dentist. However, detecting and treating cavities early on will save money, lead to less time away from work and family, lessen the amount of pain and discomfort, and remove the possibility of more invasive infections. The fillings used for cavities are quick and can look very natural in the mouth. Waiting for pain or discomfort to occur is a recipe for dental disaster.