A common response to why patients delay treatment is: “Well it doesn’t bother me.” It’s easy to ignore something if you can’t see or feel it. Unfortunately, if you wait until you have the daily reminder of being able to see or feel a cavity in your mouth, you’re typically beyond fixing the problem with a simple filling.
Most cavities form in places hard to see like in between the teeth which is why the dentist takes x-rays. So if you can see the cavity yourself, it’s likely a big cavity! Even worse, if you start to have sensitivity or pain from the cavity, that is a sign that the cavity is so large it is getting close to the nerve in the center of the tooth. Once a cavity reaches the nerve of a tooth, the bacteria from the cavity contaminate the nerve causing inflammation and pain. At this point, the tooth needs a root canal to clear the infection as well as restoring with a crown to prevent fracture.
If a cavity is so large that it is easily seen, the tooth breaks, or starts to pack food… it could need a crown to restore. And the worst case scenario, sometimes patients wait so long that the cavity gets so big nothing can be done to save the tooth.
So the bottom line is: cavities don’t go away, they grow and get bigger. Waiting to fix a cavity just means more complicated, time consuming, and possibly more expensive procedures to fix the tooth later on.