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The Cost of Delaying Treatment for a Cavity

The Cost of Delaying Treatment for a Cavity

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You don't know it, but you have a simple cavity. However, you delay making an appointment to visit your dentist because you get dental anxiety just thinking about it. Or you don't have dental insurance and can't afford to pay for an exam and cleaning. Or you don't have time to visit the dentist.

People come up with dozens of excuses for failing to attend routine dental appointments. But the reality is that missing a visit to your dentist can have serious consequences, especially if a cavity is forming. You may end up spending more time and money on restorative treatments than would have been required of your regular dental check-ups. And in the worst-case scenario, you may have to sacrifice a tooth in exchange for a few missed appointments. Is temporary reprieve from the dentist worth these costs?

Treatment Approach:

Cost:

Time:

1. Filling:

$160-$375

2 hours

2. Crown:

$550-$2,635

3 hours

3. Root Canal, Crown:

$1,300-$3,635

4-5 hours

4. Extraction, Crown, Bridge:

$1,400-$4,285

4-5 hours

5. Extraction, Implant:

$1,700-$4,785

5-6 hours

In this table, we can see that the time and costs associated with restorative treatment increases significantly as a cavity is allowed to develop. Let's take a closer look at how cavities destroy the teeth and result in more costly treatment when they are not treated early.

Dental Filling

Service:

Cost:

Time:

Exam & Cleaning:

$50-$135

1 hour

Dental Filling:

$110-$240

1 hour

Total:

$160-$375

2 hours

In its earliest stages, tooth decay weakens the enamel of the tooth, a process known as demineralization. As demineralization progresses, the decay completely penetrates the enamel, forming a cavity. As the cavity grows, it will eventually affects the dentin layer, which lies beneath the tooth's protective enamel.

At this stage, a dental filling can be used to restore the tooth. If the cavity is detected early, a smaller filling and more conservative treatment approach will suffice. Larger areas of decay will require more extensive removal of the natural tooth structure and a bigger filling.

Dental Crown

Service:

Cost:

Time:

Exam & Cleaning:

$50-$135

1 hour

Dental Crown:

$500-$2,500

2 hours

Total:

$550-$2,635

3 hours

If your cavity has developed to the point that it is compromising the structural integrity of the tooth, a simple filling is no longer a treatment option. You now need a dental crown, which will provide support to the infected tooth. A dental crown is a more costly in terms of money and your time. The treatment is done during two separate one-hour appointments, and requires more removal of your natural tooth. Once the treatment is complete, however, you can rest assured that the health of your mouth has been restored.

Root Canal and Dental Crown

Service:

Cost:

Time:

Exam & Cleaning:

$50-$135

1 hour

Dental Crown:

$500-$2,000

2 hours

Root Canal:

$750-$1,500

1-2 hours

Total:

$1,300-$3,635

4-5 hours

If your cavity has spread and penetrated the nerve, or pulp, of the tooth, you will need to undergo a root canal. During a root canal, the infection is cleaned out of the nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissue. This treatment approach involves a to two-hour root canal appointment. Once you have healed from the root canal, you can return to your dentist's office for the two separate one-hour appointments that are required for dental crowns.

Tooth Extraction, Dental Crown, and Dental Bridge

Service:

Cost:

Time:

Exam & Cleaning:

$50-$135

1 hour

Tooth Extraction:

$150-$650

1 hour

Dental Crown:

$500-$2,000

2 hours

Dental Bridge:

$700-$1,500

2 hours

Total:

$1,400-$4,285

4-5 hours

If your tooth can't be saved, you will need to undergo a tooth extraction procedure to remove the infected tooth and restore the surrounding tissues to health. Once the tooth has been removed and all signs of the infection have been cleaned out, you can consider tooth replacement options. One possible solution is the placement of a dental bridge. The dental bridge is attached to crowns that are placed on adjacent teeth, filling in the space left by the missing tooth.

Tooth Extraction and Dental Implant

Service:

Cost:

Time:

Exam & Cleaning:

$50-$135

1 hour

Tooth Extraction:

$150-$650

1 hour

Dental Implant:

$1,500-$4,000

3-4 hours

Total:

$1,700-$4,785

5-6 hours

Another tooth replacement option is placement of a dental implant. Dental implants look natural and offer excellent stability. The downside is that the treatment process is lengthy. First, a dental implant must be placed below the gum line. Next, the patient's gums and jawbone must grow around the implant during a process known as osseointegration, which can take three to six months. When osseointegration is complete, the replacement tooth is secured to the dental implant.

Is it Time for Your Next Dental Appointment?

If it has been six months or more since you have been to the dentist, it is time to set up a visit. Of course, you can continue to avoid the dentist because your work schedule won't permit it. Or you moved and you haven't taken the time to find a new dentist.

Or you can save your time, money, and teeth, and schedule your next dental appointment today.

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