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Moved to NYC and Terrified of Choosing a Bad Dentist, How Long Can Cavities Wait?



Junior member
Jul 19, 2013
Moved to NYC and Terrified of Choosing a Bad Dentist, How Long Can Cavities Wait?

Hello all. First of all, I want to say how grateful I am that such a forum exists.

I am 25 and a recent transplant to NYC from rural SD. Before moving here, I spent a few years stressed, over-eating sweets, and drinking non-fluorinated Reservation water, which, when I forced myself to go in for a check-up finally, proved to have started minute cavities between a couple of my molars, with tartar build up from not taking care of myself. On top of that, I am a distance hiker, so much of my diet is high-calorie fats, carbs and sugars, and I go often for months out into the wilderness with very limited hygienic products, especially for my teeth. However, even with all that I was shocked, since I've always taken such good care of my teeth specifically to avoid ever needing dental tools or needles in my mouth. I didn't have the first doctor touch my teeth but instead drove 7hrs to Minnesota for a second opinion from a Dr. my parents said was super sweet and who promised not to do anything but talk. That dentist was a nice man and told me that I didn't need them filled yet, to give them a while to remineralize with some extra fluoride toothpaste from him. He was afraid to fill them, since fillings can be such a hassle to maintain for someone as young as me and with otherwise perfect teeth. (He called my teeth "virgin teeth".) I loved him for telling me I could put off the fillings, especially since so much in dentistry now I think is drill before discussing options. Bad thing is, he ignored my concerns about my insurance running up and finding a dentist I could trust and afford in NYC, should the cavities not sort themselves out with good care.

Fast forward one year. After spending another two months hiking, getting married, changing my diet to match my hubby's, I am starting to realize again that I haven't been as healthy of a person as my teeth need me to be. Now I am getting a little sensitivity to dark chocolate and hot food in my top right between-molar area, which is light but definitely there. Replaying my last dentists' words in my head each night, I'm starting to desperately dread what my next appointment will look like. I recognize that online medical sites say all the signs point to me going in ASAP.

Since my husband and I are both in school again, we have no dental insurance, and I see a general first visit can cost $300-600 out of pocket, not to mention that I might need fillings AND my husband needs a check up yet too. The overwhelmingly bad reviews of dentists online topped with the costs have me hoping to push back this situation at least a couple months until I can get a really good doctor. But can my cavities wait?? (Added fear: That even with extra time, I might never be able to afford a doctor who can play soothing music or give me nitrous oxide or even take his/her time.) Will waiting cause a much bigger issue? I would be MORTIFIED to get crowns or caps, or worse yet, a ROOT CANAL. Terrifying prospect. I'd rather die than go in and find out I need my teeth ripped out. Help! Is getting small cavities filled just a sales ploy, or am I really toying with my health here day by day? Does a slight sensitivity necessarily mean my cavity is down to the root? Could it be so deep in only one year, or am I over thinking?
Re: Moved to NYC and Terrified of Choosing a Bad Dentist, How Long Can Cavities Wait?

Waiting WILL make it worse. Filling small cavities has always for me been a good idea because the decay is taken care of before it spreads and causes pain. There is a section on this site to find a good dentist in your area. I'm sure you can find a nice affordable one on there