While most people see the cost of a single filling and think, “That’s a lot of money!”, they don’t realize that the lifetime cost of that cavity is going to end up costing them many multiples of that amount. The Data and Analysis Center associated with the Delta Dental Insurance Company studied the lifetime cost a single cavity for different teeth and this is what they came up with…
A single cavity, filled on a molar of a 10 year old, will cost on average $2187 by the time they are age 79.
A single cavity filled on the premolar of a 10 year old, will cost on average $2108 by the time they are age 79.
A single cavity filled on the front tooth of a 10 year old, will cost on average $1788 by the time they are age 79.
I don’t know about you, but that is really a lot of money! The really sad part is that most people don’t end up getting just one cavity… they end up getting 5 or 6 at a time. As you can imagine, over your lifetime this can end up costing a significant amount.
So why the high costs? As soon as tooth is drilled on, it causes a chain reaction of events. No filling material lasts forever and eventually will have to be replaced and always with a slightly larger filling. The larger a filling gets, the more likely the tooth is to crack or break. Every time a tooth is drilled on it damages the nerve which will sometimes end up dying. This leads to more fillings, crowns, root canals, extractions and eventually implants or dentures for replacement.
If you have fillings or even if you don’t, the solution is simple. Practice good preventative care. The longer you can maintain the fillings you have, the more you’re going to reduce the long term cost for the tooth. Our guide on maintaining your dental health has a lot of good tips on things you can do to maintain your dental health long term.