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 to address cavities.  The average cost of a dental filling is estimated at $183.* In addition, as the years pass, fillings generally 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. An analysis of California dental claims data in 2012 found that lifetime costs for a single decayed molar can reach $6,105.

* - This estimate is based on data from the American Dental Association's 2013 Survey of Dental Fees. The estimated cost was based on an average of the mean cost for performing a one-, two- and three-surface composite filling of a decayed tooth. This average cost was $183.27.

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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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