Lifetime Costs of a Cavity (by Delta Dental)

Preventing tooth decay can help protect children from dental pain. It can also protect families and taxpayers from the costs of fillings, crowns or other treatments.  The average cost of a dental filling is $171.* In addition, fillings usually need to be repaired or replaced. So what about the lifetime cost of a cavity?

In 2004, Delta Dental researchers used claims data to calculate the lifetime costs of a decayed tooth. Its analysis found that lifetime costs for a decayed tooth range from $1,788 to $2,187. A more recent analysis of California dental data found lifetime costs for a single decayed molar can exceed $6,000.


* - This estimate is based on data from the American Dental Association's 2011 Survey of Dental Fees. The $171 estimate is an average of the fees for a one-surface and a two-surface composite filling.

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Children with poor oral health were nearly 3x more likely to miss school due to dental pain.
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