Question: Why do I need to get a cavity fixed?


Answer: The answer is ABSOLUTELY. It is important to understand what cavity is and how it affects the tooth. A cavity simply refers to "hole" that is commonly found on a tooth. It is a result of bacteria that normally occupy the mouth becoming "opportunistic" meaning when given an opportunity in the right conditions, they can cause destruction to the tooth. The reason why we discourage sodas and sweets is that the bacteria in your mouth can take this sugar and metabolize it into an acid that can dissolve the enamel from the tooth. Enamel loss is characterized by holes, or dark stains, or identifiable softness within the tooth.


The problem with small cavities is that when the cavity is in the enamel, you cannot feel it. It typically does not occur until the cavity reaches the "dentin" which is tooth structure under the enamel. When the cavity reaches the dentin, sensitivity begins. The tooth will become hot/cold sensitive, bite sensitive, can periodically throb and is also more susceptible to fracture. The longer the cavity persists the deeper it gets, and the deeper it gets, the closer it gets to the nerve.


Once it gets to or close to the nerve, the sensitivity changes. Now the tooth become lingering cold sensitive and throbs eratically without any warning and without any stimulation. The tooth at this point can keep you up at night and be very unpredictable. If the cavity gets any further, the nerve becomes infected and the result is an abscess. An abscess is characterized by swelling, excruciating pain, pain to biting, pain to touch, pain when laying down, etc. When a tooth gets to this point, the only two options to resolve this pain is an extraction or root canal.


Why is this important to know? The reason is that something simple like a filling can prevent an onslaught of problems that become more time consuming, painful and costly. For example a small filling that costs $150 may appear to be costly but when compared to other options it is actually very inexpensive. A cavity that never gets filled can become a root canal, filling and crown that now costs $2000-2500 or an extraction + a permanent bridge which is typically $2500-3000.


This definitely puts a small filling into perspective.

It is important not to delay treatment that needs to be completed. Delaying treatment can become painful, costly and very time consuming. I like to think "an ounce of prevention keeps away a pound of problems".


Please call our office if you have any questions and as always, we appreciate your dedication to your oral health as well as your loyalty to our office!



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