Here’s What Happens If You Ignore a Cavity

Fillings Urbandale

No one likes getting a cavity, but that’s no excuse to ignore tooth decay when it arises. As soon as your dentist discovers a cavity, it is a good idea to treat it to prevent further damage. In its earliest stages, a cavity can be treated quite easily with a filling. Below, Dr. Christopher McDonald explains why prompt treatment is imperative.

Cavities Don’t Simply Go Away

With some health problems, patients take a “let’s see if the problem goes away on its own” approach. However, you can be sure that a cavity will not magically disappear. That’s true even if you ramp up your brushing and flossing efforts: while that can be great for preventing future cavities, it does not fix a pre-existing cavity.

You Don’t Want a Root Canal

In fact, the longer a cavity is left untreated, the worse it gets. By postponing a filling for months or until your next dental appointment, you have no guarantee that a filling will still be an adequate solution for dealing with a cavity. At that point, you may need a root canal instead. This procedure involves rinsing and removing the infected pulp from the middle of the tooth and then filling the empty space so that decay cannot continue.

While a root canal protects the tooth, your tooth also becomes weaker following the infection and treatment. Often, your dentist needs to add a crown to the top of your tooth to ensure that it is strong and functions correctly.

And You Definitely Don’t Want a Tooth Extraction

Ignoring a cavity past the point where even a root canal can save the tooth requires more drastic effort. While Dr. McDonald considers it a last resort, tooth extraction may be necessary if the tooth is so infected that it can no longer survive.

Fortunately, with modern dentistry techniques like dental implants or dental bridges, that doesn’t mean that you have a permanent vacant space in your smile. However, these procedures are much more expensive than a filling and are usually not covered (at least not in full) by dental insurance. Considering the fact that early intervention could have kept your natural, healthy tooth in your mouth, it doesn’t make sense to let it get this far.

Schedule an Appointment

Have you been procrastinating on treating a cavity, but now are motivated to take action? Or are you overdue on a regular dental examination to verify that you do not currently have any cavities? To meet with Urbandale, IA’s favorite dentist, schedule an appointment by calling (515) 334-3838.

Posted Under: Cavities, Fillings