Dental Cost Vs Tooth Damage
Increasing Cost Of Dental Care Due To Lack Of Dental Care
It’s simple, really. Smaller issues are easier and more cost-effective to correct. Bigger dental problems require more difficult (and thus more costly) procedures and techniques.
You also need to consider the cost of your overall health and happiness. Thanks to advances in high-tech dentistry, extensive dental problems can often be corrected. However, there are some issues that will affect your long-term health and cause permanent damage. Some of the consequences of not taking a preventive approach to your dental care include:
- Tooth decay/cavities
- Root canals
- Gum disease
- Tooth staining
Let’s Crunch Some Numbers
If you’re covered by dental insurance, most providers cover a large portion if not the full cost of your dental exam and cleaning appointments. Even if you don’t have insurance, the cost of this type of preventive appointments is very affordable. While insurance is typically very helpful for preventive treatments, larger dental work is not always included. Meaning, if you’re facing gum disease, you’ll likely need to pay for the majority of the treatment out of pocket. Let’s take a closer look.
Say you’re covered by dental insurance and have an out-of-pocket premium of $360. When you visit your dentist twice a year for your routine visits, you pay a $20 copay. During these visits, your dentist helps prevent problems like cavities and gum disease through precise cleanings and dental education.
At the end of the year, you’ll have paid $400 for dental care (just over $1/day) and will have a beautiful, healthy smile to show for it. On the other hand, pretend you haven’t been to the dentist in 24 months when a tooth that’s been sensitive for a while starts to really cause you pain. You schedule an appointment and your dentist discovers you need a root canal.
The 5 Stages Of Tooth Decay
During the first stage of tooth decay, the outer layer of your teeth — the enamel — starts to weaken due to the presence of plaque.
Enamel is the toughest substance in your body — harder than your bones. However, the acid produced by plaque can demineralize and weaken enamel.
When demineralization sets in, you’ll likely start seeing white spots on your teeth. This is where the plaque has started whittling away your tooth enamel.
If you allow your enamel to continue breaking down, the white spots will start turning brown. Now, you’ve progressed to the second stage of tooth decay when the enamel starts to deteriorate and cavities begin to form.
You’ll need to get tooth fillings to prevent your cavities from growing larger. Your dentist will remove the decayed parts of the tooth and fill the hole with resin, gold, silver amalgam, or ceramic.
If your cavities aren’t filled in time, your dentin could eventually get damaged as well.
Tooth decay will speed up from this point on if you don’t see a dentist. You’ll know you are at this third stage of tooth decay when you start feeling extreme tooth sensitivity while drinking hot or cold drinks, especially sugary types, as well as while eating.
If dentin decay is identified early on, it can be fixed with a filling. If substantial damage has occurred, your dentist will likely remove the decayed portion of your tooth and place a crown over the remaining tooth structure.
The pulp is the container, it’s the bottom-most part of your tooth and houses blood vessels and nerves that sustain and provide sensation to the tooth.
Once tooth decay has spread to the pulp, pressure will start to increase since your tooth can’t expand along with the pulp, causing pain. The last stage of pulp damage involves pulp death, also known as pulp necrosis.
You may experience the following symptoms when your pulp dies:
- Color of the tooth changes from white to grey to black
- Tooth has a bad smell
- Swelling around the tooth
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
You’ll need to have a root canal to treat the tooth.
If a root canal won’t do the trick, you’ll likely need to have the tooth removed to avoid having the infection spread to other parts of your head. You may also have to take antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
Article compiled by AppleTreeDental.ca
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