Naturally, you don’t want your dentist to find a cavity at your next checkup. But, what if they do? How will your family dentist in Tyrone, GA, treat the cavity? The answer depends on the size and location of the cavity itself. Your dentist may put in a filling, crown the tooth, or perform a root canal. The first steps always include numbing the area, removing the decayed portion of your tooth with a drill, and cleaning the space for the restoration of the tooth.
Add a Filling
Small cavities can be replaced by a filling. Most dentists use tooth-colored fillings to help the area blend in with the rest of your tooth. They may also use silver fillings, made with amalgam, especially if the tooth isn’t readily visible when you smile. For example, silver fillings are more commonly used on the biting surfaces of your molars.
After the filling is placed, the dentist must polish it to match the original shape of your tooth. They will also adjust the height of the filling to ensure that you can still bite down comfortably and close your mouth naturally.
Crown the Tooth
In some cases, tooth decay was so severe that there’s not enough of the tooth structure left to add a filling. If the tooth is fragile, a filling is also not going to work. Finally, if the same filling keeps falling out, it may be necessary to crown the tooth instead.
A crown restores your tooth from the gum line and looks just like a natural tooth. Crowns are usually ceramic, but they may contain metal inside for stability. A crown has to be created in the dental lab and therefore requires two appointments with the dentist. During the first appointment, your dentist will prepare the tooth for the crown. At this point, you’ll receive a temporary crown to protect the tooth and allow you to eat normally until the permanent crown can be placed. At the second appointment, the crown will be fit onto your tooth.
Perform a Root Canal
If a cavity is causing severe pain, it may have gone deep into the tooth and caused an infection of the pulp. The only way to save the tooth at this point is to have the dentist perform a root canal. During this procedure, the dentist cleans out the nerve endings of the tooth. Afterwards, a crown must be placed to prevent the tooth from breaking.
A tooth extraction is usually the last resort for a badly decayed tooth. In many cases, a root canal can save your tooth, so you don’t have to deal with a gap. Fortunately, even missing teeth can be replaced without anyone being the wiser with dental implants or bridges.