Preventative Dental Care – Exploring the life of a tooth

Preventative Dental Care – Exploring the life of a tooth

Posted on Aug 04, 2015

Teeth – we’ve all got them but let’s be honest: until something goes wrong with them, we rarely put much thought into what makes our teeth tick. It’s time to hand the floor over to Dr Koz who explores the life of a tooth in the first of our educational videos that’ll explain various oral health topics in plain English. Over to you Dr Koz!

Dr Koz

When it comes to your dental health, 95 per cent of what happens to you is preventable. Let me explain.

I’ve treated thousands of patients over the course of my career who’ve been to the dentist all their lives and still end up seeing someone like me. Once I examine them and review their history, I learn they’re likely to have already spent $20,000 to $30,000 on treatment over the course of their lives.

And yet, while they’re amazed they’re more than likely going to have to spend the same amount again (or more even), I’m not surprised one bit.

So, how does this happen? It’s simple: most people don’t consider treatment until it’s absolutely necessary and by that point, it’s often too late. Here’s how I see it – there are really 2 types of treatment. Preventative dental care and reactive dentistry.

Let’s consider Preventative dental care treatment and delve into what it really means.

Let’s look at a patient who’s 30-years-old and needs a filling for one tooth that’s worth $250. Over the patient’s expected lifespan of 90 years (so by this estimate, he’s still got 60 years to live), if they needed to replace the tooth another five times, they’d be up for a total cost of $1,250.

Most importantly, their tooth will still be intact and functioning normally as the dental treatment has been controlled and is fairly predictable.

But what if the patient had decided to delay dental treatment and put off doing anything about the situation until they were 40? In this case, initial treatment is likely to be a root canal which will cost around $1,200.

If there are problems from here (which is highly likely), a complex rebuild might be the next form of dental treatment (that’ll equate to roughly $600) or even a crown and post (worse still money-wise, that could cost around $2,000).

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the end of the story because in the best case scenario, these teeth will have to be replaced. In the worst, you’re looking at a possible root fracture or extraction at an estimated $500. Once any tooth is missing, it needs to be replaced in order to maintain the integrity of the arch. This can be done with a bridge and cost anywhere between $3,500 to $5,000.

Alternatively, you may need an implant or a crown at a cost between $4,000 to $5,000. And keep in mind, we’re only talking about at age 60 here. Although this patient hasn’t even reached 90 (the average life expectancy), they’ve already spent $6,000 to $8,000.

What you’ve seen here is a direct comparison between preventative and reactive dental care.

While dental treatment is controlled and predictable down the preventative dental route, the alternative certainly is not.

Don’t put off that check-up for another month. Make an appointment at your nearest NovaDental clinic and be pro-active when it comes to your dental health: 1300 549 750.