I think I have a cavity in my tooth because it’s really painful when I eat. I don’t have dental insurance and I would like to avoid spending the money right now, especially so close to Christmas. Just the other day I ran across this “do it yourself” white filling kit. Is this a realistic alternative to going to the dentist?
Marcus, Nashville, TN
Sorry about the painful tooth especially this close to Christmas where you’ll need those chompers to devour loads of good food! I’ve heard of these kits before, and they do work well as a temporary fix to fill in the hole, but it will do nothing for your tooth pain. See, the problem that is causing the pain needs to be addressed and that can only be done by a dentist. There are bacteria living in your tooth and the longer it goes untreated the more damage it causes.
An untreated infected tooth can cause you serious trouble. Infections in the lower teeth can cause swelling so great that it seals your eye shut or closes up your airway. Upper tooth infections can spread into your sinus cavity and leak into your brain resulting in death. Teeth infections are nothing to play around with.
And since you say it’s painful when you eat, it’s more than likely that you already have an infected tooth. Things like sensitivity when chewing, sensitivity to pressure or temperatures, and the tooth-aching on its own are all signs of infection. Once this happens, you have only two options: extraction or root canal. I’m sure you know that root canals are the more expensive of the two options, but if you extract your tooth without having plans to replace it that will cost you more in the long run.
You should know that having a missing tooth can cause bite problems or problems with your other teeth shifting around in your mouth. This is why we’d recommend having a dental implant done or placing a dental bridge. Having a dental implant or dental bridge done later is far more costly than having a root canal with a crown done now.
So my suggestion is you find a dentist sooner rather than later. Try an emergency dentist who is willing to work with you on the costs. There are lots of dentists out there willing to let you pay in installments. You should also check out local dental schools. Because students are in a teaching institution, these schools offer safe dental procedures at a very low cost.
This blog is sponsored by Buffalo dentist Warren M. Krutchick, DDS.