3 Factors Affecting Dental Cavity Treatment

Dental caries, more commonly known as cavities, are a type of tooth decay. A cavity initially punctures the protective enamel layer of the tooth. If left untreated, the cavity can continue on into the tooth until it pierces the dentin and potentially exposes the sensitive pulp material inside.

The treatment options for a cavity vary according to the cavity's severity and position and the position of the affected tooth. Different types of treatments can involve either a traditional dentist or a cosmetic dentist:

Minor Cavity: Fluoride and Improved Hygiene

If the cavity has only begun to affect the enamel, you likely won't need any invasive dental treatments to cure the problem. Use of fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash will strengthen the existing enamel and prevent any further erosion.

It's important to use fluoride as the dentist directs. You also need to pay close attention to dental hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush and the dentist-recommended toothpaste. Floss between your teeth daily to remove any lingering bacteria that can create cavities.

Moderate to Severe Cavity: Filling or Root Canal

If the cavity has penetrated the dentin, your dentist will need to fill that hole in some way to prevent harmful bacteria from creating an infection inside the tooth.

A cavity that has damaged the dentin but not the pulp can usually be treated with a filling. A metal or resin-based material is inserted into the hole and allowed to set to plug it shut. The procedure is quick and should be fairly painless.

If the cavity has damaged the pulp, the dentist might need to perform a root canal. This procedure involves opening up the top of the tooth and scraping out any damaged or infected pulp material. The pulp is replaced by synthetic filling material and the tooth is sealed closed with an artificial cap that covers both the entry hole and the cavity.

Rear Teeth Cavity: Metal Fillings

A rear or posterior tooth with moderate to severe cavity damage needs a strong filling material. That's because the rear teeth are exposed to most of the force when you chew.

Composite resin is a popular filling material for front teeth because it is tooth colored. But the resin can crack over time under the pressure of biting. Metal filling materials are stronger. Silver amalgam is the cheaper option while gold is a more expensive but equally valid choice.

The metal fillings won't be tooth colored. But the location in the back of the mouth means others will rarely if ever see these fillings. To learn more, contact a company such as Wallington Dental with any questions or concerns you have.