In this day and age and with such busy lives, often our health is focused on reactive care rather than preventative care. We tend to take care of ourselves only when we are diagnosed with a problem or disease. We are wired to wait until there is a problem before we look for a solution.
However, for many people once a cavity (a disease in your mouth) is diagnosed, it is often not seen as an urgent problem. Cavities are often left to fester and many people don’t seek treatment at all. Like any other disease, cavity symptoms worsen when treatment is neglected. Required care becomes more extensive (and expensive) as time goes on.
Let’s take a closer look at five reasons why it’s best to take care of cavities right once they are detected.
Why You Should Take Care of Cavities Early
1. Cavities are a disease.
The NIH defines a cavity as permanent damage due to mineral and enamel loss. Also known as tooth decay, there’s no way to reverse or fix cavities on your own – a dentist will need to give you a filling.
Like many other diseases, cavities get worse over time and cause additional complications if left untreated. Advanced decay can lead to abscesses, tooth loss, and infection.
2. Taking care of cavities early saves you money.
Most people don’t realize that the cost of a cavity depends on the size of the affected area.
Dentists label teeth like a cube, with four sides and a top. A cavity can affect only one surface or all five. Each surface that is affected adds to the cost.
By treating early after diagnosis, less surfaces may be affected, and the cost will be lower.
3. The smaller the cavity, the better.
Treating cavities earlier while they are small means more affordable dental work, but also a more predictable long-term outcome for the tooth.
The main goal of cavity treatment is to preserve as much of the original tooth structure as possible. This will directly affect a tooth’s resistance to fracture and its ability to withstand normal wear and tear.
The larger the cavity, the more tooth that needs to be removed to fix the decay. When you remove more of the original tooth, the remaining tooth is weaker and more susceptible to damage.
4. Large cavities may require more procedures.
When cavities get too large or deep, they often require more expensive and time consuming treatment than a common filling, such a crown or a canal.
Even once filled, oftentimes the larger a filling is on a tooth, the more likely it will need additional treatment down the road. For example, after a large filling, it is often recommended that a tooth have the tooth crowned crown to provide more strength and wear resistance to the structure. .
5. You can easily lose your tooth.
Waiting for a cavity to become bothersome or noticeable often means a filling is no longer an option. When you can feel a cavity, more than likely it has reached the nerve of your tooth. At this point, the tooth often requires a root canal or extraction. Depending on the amount of natural tooth remaining, often extraction is the only option.
Replacing a missing tooth is often more difficult and costly than saving a tooth.
Preventative dental exams are key to identify cavities early and allow you to discuss a treatment plan that works for you with your dentist.
Dentists will ALWAYS recommend immediate cavity treatment for five main reasons:
- Cavities are a disease, and delaying treatment has the same consequences as any other disease.
- You’ll save a lot of money.
- Smaller cavities are easier to treat, and early treatment means stronger teeth.
- Larger cavities always require more lengthy and costly procedures.
- The longer you wait, the higher the chances you’ll need a root canal or complete extraction.
Once you think about it, letting cavities go is simply not an option.