How are cavities managed or treated?
Treatment depends on the severity of tooth decay. Cavity treatments include:
- Fluoride: When decay is caught early, fluoride treatments can repair tooth enamel. This process is called remineralization. You may need prescription toothpaste and mouthwash, as well as fluoride treatments at the dental office.
- Fillings: Once a hole forms in the tooth, dentists drill out the decayed material and fill the hole. Dental fillings are made of silver amalgam, composite resin or gold.
- Root canal: A root canal treats pain from root decay. Endodontists are dental specialists who treat problems that affect a tooth’s root. During a root canal, this healthcare provider removes the pulp that contains nerve endings that cause pain.
- Tooth extraction: If a root canal isn’t possible, your healthcare provider may extract (pull) the tooth. You may need a dental implant to replace a pulled permanent tooth. Implants keep teeth from shifting and changing your appearance and bite.