Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available to address the problem of cavities on teeth. The treatment that is right for you is usually dictated by the severity of the cavity and can be selected only with the help of your dental professional who is able to best assess the severity of condition. Below, we’ll discuss treatment options from the least to the most severe cavities.
The most common form of treatment for moderate to severe cavities are fillings. When you get a filling, your dental professional drills into the affected tooth, removes the decayed tissues inside the cavity, and completes the treatment by filling the drilled space with an appropriate material to restore the strength of your tooth structure. While the majority of fillings are made with composite resin, they can also be made of a variety of different materials. Occlusal cavities, or cavities on back teeth might be filled with more-durable materials, gold and silver being two options. For interproximal cavities, or cavities in between teeth, your dentist may opt for composite resin on visible teeth to address your aesthetic concerns and to provide a more attractive appearance. Based on the severity and location of your cavity, your dentist will know which is the best option for treating your cavities.
Saving Severely Infected Teeth with Crowns
For more extreme cases of tooth decay, when too much of the tooth structure is lost, your dental professional might opt for crowns. Sometimes a severely infected tooth requires large fillings, which can make teeth vulnerable to cracking, and ultimately breaking. To treat this level of damage, your dental professional will try to save what’s left of the tooth, repair it and finally cover it with an alloy or porcelain crown.
Root Canals - Solution for Cavities that Damaged Tooth Nerves
When the damage from a cavity in your tooth goes too deep to be treated with the previous methods, your dental professional may suggest a root canal treatment. When tooth decay progresses through the tooth’s protective enamel, it generally settles around the center of the tooth in the dentin. Decay that extensively penetrates the dentin may result in damage to the nerves in the tooth root and require a root canal treatment to address the problem. During the root canal procedure, your dentist will remove the damaged nerve and its surrounding blood vessel tissue, or pulp and fill the area with an endodontic sealant. If a large part of the tooth is filed away during the root canal procedure, your dental professional might decide to place a crown over the affected tooth once the procedure is complete.
Extraction as a Last Resort
Another cavity treatment, tooth extraction, is usually a last option when the aforementioned treatments are not sufficient to solve the problem. This option is only explored if destruction of the tooth tissues increases the potential of infection spreading to the jaw bone. For decayed teeth that are easily accessible, your dental professional will perform a simple extraction that does not require incisions or general anesthesia. A tooth extraction will leave an edentulous area, or gap between teeth, which may be remedied by inserting a partial denture, bridge or implant where the tooth was.