Fixing a Hole: Treatments for Cavities

July 21, 2015 — by Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky
Tags: General Dentistry Tooth Decay Restorative Dentistry

Cross-section illustration of a healthy tooth, unaffected by cavitiesAs far as dental technology has come throughout the years, the most commonly treated oral health problem remains the cavity. Although cosmetic dentistry treatments such as teeth whitening and porcelain veneers are getting the majority of the attention these days for their transformative effects on patients’ smiles, general dentistry remains the foundation upon which beautiful smiles are built. Without good oral health, you cannot have a truly great smile. This is why Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky offers several treatment options for cavities at his Edmonton dental practice.

Regardless of the treatment option that is best suited to your case, the most important thing is that you do seek treatment for your cavity. If left untreated, a cavity can penetrate the inner chambers of your tooth, where the dental pulp is located. If this happens, you could experience excruciating pain and will require oral surgery in order to salvage the tooth. If you do not salvage the tooth at this point, it will eventually die, which will lead to a host of even more serious oral health issues.

So if you currently have a cavity or suspect that you do, we urge you to visit Dr. Podilsky and his team at your earliest convenience. We can help you return your mouth to optimal health and start smiling again today!

Modern Treatments for Cavities

Cavities - clinically known as dental caries - are holes or crevices that form in the dentin layer of the teeth. The dentin is the layer that underlies the enamel, or the protective top layer. When the enamel becomes worn and begins to erode, the dentin becomes vulnerable to damage, whether through exposure to bacteria, trauma, infection, or other potential sources of harm.

In treating cavities, the first step is always to remove the damaged portion of the tooth. Otherwise, the damage could continue to spread to the healthy portions of the tooth. Once the damaged portions have been removed, one of the following treatments will be used, depending on the amount of healthy tooth structure remaining:

  • Tooth-colored fillings: This is the most conservative treatment option, selected when damage to the tooth is minimal and very little missing tooth structure has to be replaced. Tooth-colored fillings perform the same function as their old-fashioned silver amalgam counterparts; however, they are made of a composite resin material that is free from metal and mercury and that blends seamlessly into any smile completely inconspicuously. Modern tooth-colored fillings are as strong and durable as silver amalgam fillings, as well.
  • Inlays and onlays: If the damage to the tooth is somewhat more moderate, then Dr. Podilsky may opt to replace the missing portions with an inlay or an onlay. Both restorations are custom-crafted from the finest porcelain to fit precisely within the tooth and bonded permanently into place. Inlays are made to fit within the cusps (the pointed protrusions) of a tooth while onlays extend to cover one or more of the cusps.
  • Dental crowns: If the damage to the tooth is so severe that the remaining tooth structure cannot support an inlay or an onlay, Dr. Podilsky will preserve the tooth by covering it with a custom-crafted dental crown. A dental crown replicates the visible portion of the tooth from the gumline up. Because it is made from the finest ceramic materials, it complements the surrounding natural teeth perfectly, blending indistinguishably into the smile. However, it also restores full function to the mouth while protecting the remaining natural tooth structure from further damage.

Learn More about Treatments for Cavities

To learn more about treatments for cavities, please contact the general dentistry practice of Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky today.