After diagnosing decay on a tooth, occasionally I have been asked "Why should I fix that tooth? It doesn't hurt yet." I suspect the people who ask that question are going on the assumption that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and if it isn't hurting, it ain't broke." Well, if you have decay. "it's broke." If left untreated, the decay and bacteria will reach the nerve and infection occurs. This is accompanied by inflammation, pain, and the destruction of bone around the tooth root. An infected nerve requires a root canal and a crown to save the tooth, or the extraction of the tooth.
Let's talk about your health first. When we recommend placing a filling, the goal is to remove the decay BEFORE it gets deeper and more serious, and to place a conservative filling. The smaller the filling, the more tooth structure that remains. This is a stronger situation because natural tooth structure is stronger than any man-made filling material. Smaller fillings are also less sensitive after placement, and they last longer than large fillings.
Now, let's talk cost. If a tooth needs a root canal and crown, the cost can be 10 times the cost of a medium size filling. If a tooth is extracted, a replacement can cost 20 times that of the filling. And what is your time worth? More extensive dental work requires more appointments.
"Why should I fix this tooth? It doesn't hurt yet." It is NOT in your best interest to get to the point where you are in pain. It's the same with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even termites in your house. Wouldn't you agree it is always better to find and fix small problems before they become large, more serious problems?
If you have any questions about your oral health, Dr. Mahlin would be happy to discuss them with you.
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