Small or surface cavities in teeth can often be treated with a simple filling. But deeper and wider cavities may require more advanced treatment to protect the tooth from further decay and to strengthen the tooth that remains. But saving the tooth isn't always possible, depending on the severity of the cavity.
If you have a deep cavity, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to discuss your treatment options. Here are a few of the potential treatments that might be available through your general or cosmetic dentist office.
Root Canal and Small Dental Crown
Tooth decay that reaches deep into the tooth can cause damage to the root canal. The root canal is a hollow structure running down the center of the tooth that contains pulp material. Pulp carries nerves, blood cells, and tissue that keeps the tooth alive.
If your deep cavity has damaged the pulp, your dentist will recommend a root canal procedure. This procedure involves the dentist removing any dead or damaged pulp from the tooth, filling the canal up with a sealant, and then closing the top of the tooth with a dental crown.
A dental crown is a tooth-colored, custom-fit shell that is bonded onto the tooth's surface. If the root canal took care of your interior damage, the dentist might place a small dental crown that only covers the very top of your natural crown.
Full-Tooth Dental Crown
If the cavity is deep and wide, your dentist might recommend a full-tooth dental crown to protect the tooth from further damage. A full-tooth crown will offer more stability to your tooth that wouldn't be possible with a smaller crown.
The larger size of the crown also means you can save some money with a metal-backed porcelain crown. There will be a small line of metal showing at the bottom near your gums but it won't be noticeable to other people. And the metal will offer added stability that's particularly important on teeth that take a lot of bite force like the molars.
Extraction and Implant
Deep cavities can sometimes damage the pulp so much that the tooth essentially dies. In these situations, a dentist might recommend extracting the tooth and filling the gap with a dental replacement. Using a dental replacement will keep the surrounding teeth from shifting out of place.
Dental implants are one of the most popular types of dental replacements. The jawbone-implanted metal root holds an artificial tooth firmly in place for the most natural feeling bite out of the replacement options.
Talk to your local dentist, such as those at Wallington Dental, right away if you think you have a deep cavity and discuss the possible options you could have to fix your teeth.