Why should I do fillings earlier?

“From the x-rays, you will need four small fillings to be done. Everything will cost you $650. Would you like to schedule the next appointment?” 

“Well, I am not in any pain now. I will book later when I am free. Thanks.”

A few months later, this patient returned with severe sensitivity to hot and cold things. Some deep fillings were completed, but she suffered from moderate sensitivity after the fillings for six weeks. Fortunately, the sensitivity was gone eventually. 

A year and a half later, two root canal treatments were completed on teeth with deep fillings. But why? Why did some simple fillings become root canal treatments? 

When tooth decay initially happens, simple fillings can solve the problem since nerve tissues are still intact and undamaged. However, when tooth decay becomes deeper, the risk of nerve tissues becoming compromised increases. Once nerve tissues suffer from irreversible damage, they will die and cause infection. The process usually produces symptoms including severe pain overnight and pain on biting. A tooth with permanent or irreversible damage will need to be extracted or saved by root canal treatment.

There are a few advantages of having smaller fillings in your mouth:

  1. Less likely nerve tissues will be compromised irreversibly.
  2. An overall longer lifespan 
  3. Smaller risk of complications e.g. broken filling 
  4. A filling is CHEAPER than a root canal treatment 
  5. A filling is usually more COMFORTABLE than a root canal treatment

Although early decay lesions can be resolved by an intensive preventive regime, there is a possibility of further decay progression. Whenever fillings may be needed, it is important to get them completed as soon as possible for an overall better health, a more comfortable dental experience and generally cheaper treatment cost.