Does one of your teeth have a very deep cavity in it? If so, you may be wondering how the dentist is going to treat that decay and potentially save the tooth. There are several methods that your dentist may use to get rid of the decay.
If the decay is bad enough that it has reached the tooth's nerves, the dentist will want to perform a root canal. This procedure will involve hollowing out the center of your tooth to remove the damaged pulp and nerves, but it will leave the tooth in your jawbone. Your dentist will fill the center of the tooth with a special sealant and then close the tooth by placing a crown on top of it. The crown will have a natural color to it, which will match the surrounding teeth and look seamless.
If the decay has caused part of the tooth to fall off, your dentist may be able to use what remains of the natural tooth. They will remove the remaining decay and then use dental bonding to recreate the part of the tooth that is gone. The color of the resin will blend in with the rest of the tooth much like a dental crown, causing the finished product to look like a single tooth.
If your cavity is very narrow and deep but has not reached the pulp, you may be lucky and only need a simple dental filling. This may end up being a permanent solution to fix the tooth, or it could be just a temporary one. If you continue to feel pain in the tooth with the filling, you may end up needing to get a root canal in the end.
If the decay is quite wide and stayed away from the pulp, the stability of the tooth may be in question after removing the decay. Your dentist may recommend using a dental crown as a way to preserve the natural tooth and give it the strength it needs.
If the tooth is dead and cannot be saved by a root canal, your best option may be to extract the tooth. Extracted teeth can be replaced using a dental bridge, partial denture, or dental implants. The tooth replacement option you choose will depend on your budget and how natural you want the tooth to feel when it is replaced.
If you have questions about any of these techniques, be sure to ask your dentist during your next appointment.