November 21, 2016
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The X-Ray above was taken a little over a year ago when this patient presented for a routine exam. A circle has been placed around an area of decay, to allow my readers to easily identify the problem with this tooth. This tooth is a second upper molar, which has a very important role in chewing. At this point in time the tooth required a restoration (filling) after the decay was removed. After a check-up visit, this is probably one of the most common and simple procedures that is done here at my office. The patient did not schedule to repair his tooth at the time the decay was detected and said he’d call us to make an appointment.

Over the course of the year, we made multiple attempts to contact the patient in an attempt to correct this dental problem while it was still simple. All our efforts were in vain! Fast forward to the middle of last month and the patient finally calls us for an appointment because now that tooth has really been hurting and has kept him up for days. Part of his emergency exam was a new X-Ray.

Once again, but this time on the new X-Ray, a circle has been placed around the area of decay. It is very apparent that in the one year since the first X-Ray was taken, the decay has grown significantly! This tooth is no longer fixable with a simple filling, but with the decay having reached the soft tissue in the middle of the tooth (the “nerve”), now only a root canal will allow this tooth to be saved. And as this is an important chewing tooth, a restoration called a “build-up” will be required to replace the tooth structure lost to decay and that will need to be followed by a crown (commonly referred to as a “cap”) to restore the tooth to full strength!

So by simply letting a year pass, it will now cost 10X the cost of the originally treatment planned filling to save this tooth and take three to four appointments to complete the necessary procedures instead of one!

The patient opted to have this important chewing tooth extracted because of the expense and so for the same cost as it would have been to fix the tooth a year earlier, the patient now has no tooth for the same cost as fixing it a year earlier!!!

The moral of the story – Fix it today and keep it simple and cost effective!

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