How to Fix a Tooth Cavity? Detecting the Early Signs of Tooth Decay

Cavities are tiny holes that develop in the tooth’s surface due to tooth decay. They are primarily caused by acid from bacteria feeding on the sugars found in your saliva and teeth after you eat. Cavities allow bacteria to access the internal layers of your tooth: The dentin and the pulp. Bacterial growth can lead to an infection, destroying the tooth’s tissues.

If left untreated, cavities can erode the entire tooth or lead to tooth loss, bone deterioration, and periodontal infections. Visiting your dentist to understand how to fix a tooth cavity with dental crowns or fillings can help you detect the early signs of tooth decay and receive treatment before the cavity worsens.

Symptoms of Tooth Decay

  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Persistent toothache
  • Pain when chewing
  • Visible pits or holes in your teeth
  • Eroded tooth cusps
  • Tooth discolouration

Diagnosing Tooth Decay

At your consultation, your dentist performs a manual examination using a dental mirror, sickle explorer, and a periodontal probe. If they notice visible tooth decay or detect soft spots on your tooth that indicate internal decay, they may order digital imaging or X-rays. These diagnostic tools can help your dentist determine the depth and severity of the tooth decay. It also helps your dentist determine the correct treatment option.

How to Fix a Tooth Cavity? Mercury-Free Tooth Fillings

Fillings are prescribed for mild to moderate tooth decay. At Dentistry on Solent, we use mercury-free fillings because they are durable and aesthetically pleasing.

During your tooth filling appointment, your dentist applies a numbing gel to gums around the affected tooth and injects a local anaesthetic.

Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your dentist uses an electric handpiece with a drill attachment to remove the decay. They then apply tooth-coloured composite resin to the cavity and harden each layer with a curing light.

How to Fix a Tooth Cavity? Dental Crowns

If you have a large cavity or the tooth already has a filling, your dentist may recommend a dental crown. A dental crown is a tooth-coloured cap that fits over the entire tooth’s surface. Dental crowns are used to improve the structural integrity and strength of the tooth.

During your appointment for dental crowns, your dentist numbs the area with a local anaesthetic, then opens the cavity using a drill. After cleaning away the necrotic tissue, they then use a high-speed burr to trim and shape the sides and top of the tooth. Shaping allows the dental crown to fit flush against the adjacent teeth and gums.

After taking dental impressions of your prepared tooth to send to the lab where your dental crowns are fabricated, your dentist will fit you for a temporary dental crown. At your final session, the temporary dental crown is removed, and the permanent dental crown is fitted and cemented in place.

How to Fix a Tooth Cavity? Root Canal Therapy

When tooth decay reaches the pulp chamber, bacteria can cause a severe infection in the tooth root. If you have a pulp infection, your dentist will recommend root canal therapy.

After opening the tooth crown and removing the infected tissue, the pulp chamber is sterilised and smoothed. Then, the dentist fills the hollow cavity with a latex substance called gutta percha. Finally, they prepare the tooth for a dental crown. Your dental crown will be fitted at a second appointment.

How to Fix a Tooth Cavity? Dental Implants

If the cavity is so severe that the tooth cannot be saved, you may need to have it removed and replaced with a dental implant. A dental implant consists of a titanium post that acts as your tooth root, an abutment to connect the post with a dental crown.

Preventing Tooth Cavities

To avoid treatments like dental crowns or fillings for tooth cavities, take steps to prevent decay from occurring. Here are a few ways you can take better care of your teeth and reduce the likelihood of developing dental caries.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride treatment is a preventative measure and can also reverse early stage tooth decay. Fluoride works by strengthening your tooth enamel and making it more resistant to plaque-forming bacteria that produce harmful acids. The fluoride treatment accelerates the buildup of healthy minerals, preventing acid attacks from sugars.

Your dentist may apply a fluoride treatment in the treatment room following a dental cleaning, or they may prescribe a special fluoride rinse for your take home and use daily.

Regular Professional Cleanings

The only way to catch signs of decay early is to have your mouth examined by a dentist regularly. This means attending your regularly scheduled dental cleanings every six months to have plaque buildup professionally removed and let your dentist take a look at your tooth and gum health.

Frequent dental cleanings allow for early detection of any decay, reducing the chances you’ll need dental crowns or root canal therapy.

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Pediatric Sealants

To prevent cavities in kids, your dentist may apply pediatric sealants. These thin coatings are similar to dental crowns in that they cover the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They protect the cavity-prone areas from exposure to acids and sugars.

Because the back molars have deep grooves and pits that are often challenging to clean properly while brushing. Sealants help reduce the likelihood of plaque buildup and residue forming cavities in hard to reach places.

Schedule a Cleaning at Dentistry on Solent

If you suspect you have a cavity, book an appointment with our Bella Vista dentists. We can recommend restorative dentistry options for severe tooth decay, like dental crowns, or take preventative measures to protect your teeth from developing dental caries.

Call us on (02) 9158 6137.


Dental Sealants for Children

Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Dental Crown

Tooth Preparation Technique

Cavities/Tooth Decay

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