This will be a short blog entry to demonstrate how the money one thinks they save today by putting off care because it doesn’t hurt or you can’t see it will have drastic consequences not to far down the road.
The arrow on the above X-Ray is next to a small cavity on a tooth next to where an adjacent tooth was just extracted. The small cavity was detected not because it hurt or because one could see or feel it. It was diagnosed by chance as a result of the X-Ray taken to evaluate the extraction site. The patient was advised to treat it early as it would be a simple filling and not overly expensive. She said it didn’t hurt, you couldn’t see it and she’d call shortly when she was ready.
Fast forward a year and I get a holiday weekend emergency phone call! Medicine is called in to the local pharmacy and the patient comes in on New Years Eve Day. The above is the X-Ray taken nearly a year later. The arrow is in the same place, but the cavity is significantly larger. The decay has spread into the “nerve” of the tooth and an abscess is present with pain and the risk of systemic infection. Now the treatment options are to spend the same amount of money to extract the tooth that could have filled a year ago or spend tenfold more to save it with a required root canal, core of the tooth repair and a crown, which also means multiple visits, not one! The patient picks to save her tooth and you see it was penny wise, but dollar foolish! Lesson- fix it when it is small, simple and inexpensive. And regular exam visits mean nothing gets to big or out of control!