So you either suspect you have a cavity or you’ve heard the dreaded words from your dentist. Here are some common symptoms:
- A toothache
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain when biting
- A broken or chipped tooth
- Bad breath
- Dark spots on your teeth
If you’re experiencing any of the above, what are your options? First you should see your dentist as soon as possible. You’ll likely be presented with one of these four options for taking care of the tooth decay.
If you have a smaller cavity, or one consisting of a smaller amount of decay, your dentist will treat it with a filling. When using this method, dentists drill into the cavity, removing all of the decay and then filling the hole with either resin, porcelain or amalgam filling. Many people fear the mercury content of silver amalgam fillings, so talk to your doctor about your preferences. Once completed, you’ll be left with a smooth surface free of pain.
If your cavity is a bit more extensive, your dentist may fit you with a crown. Decay can wear down the tooth so much that once drilled out, you need something more substantial to make it functional again. Crowns are custom fitted and help to preserve your gum line and aesthetics, as well. When receiving a crown, your dentist again clears out the tooth decay and instead of filling it, he or she takes a mold of your tooth. This custom-molded crown fits over top of your tooth.
If the decay in your tooth has penetrated down to the root, it is necessary for dentists to perform a root canal. During a root canal, the dentist makes an incision in the top of the tooth and removes the decaying tissue and pulp from the tooth and the canals. The tooth is refilled with a rubberish material and sealed. At times, dentists will also need to apply crowns to protect a tooth that’s vulnerable to decay.
If you’ve got a cavity that has affected the entire tooth, it’s likely that it will have to be extracted. When a tooth just cannot be saved by any of the methods listed above, it’s your only option. Leaving it in can cause infection and affect surround teeth. After a tooth is pulled, you’ll be left with a gap that shouldn’t be left as is. Consider obtaining a bridge or having an implant put in to preserve your gum line and prevent other teeth from moving around and creating an additional set of problems.
For more information on cavities and how to address them, call Austin Family Dental today.