The type and course of treatment you receive will vary according to a number of factors, such as the severity of the problem, your age, medical history and tolerance/aversion to certain types of medication(s), and so on. The earlier you seek treatment, the fewer the chances you will need extensive treatment. Treatment options available include:
Fluoride treatments – If your cavity is in its initial stages and has been caught early, you can be given a fluoride treatment that may help to restore your tooth’s enamel. Fluoride treatments may come in the form of gel, liquid, form or a varnish and they contain more fluoride than over-the-counter toothpaste and rinses.
Fillings (restorations) – This is the most common type of treatment when decay has progressed beyond the initial erosion stage, and are made to fill the holes or pits that may have formed in your teeth. The decayed portion of your tooth is drilled and removed and replaced with a filling. These fillings can be made of a number of materials such as silver alloy, gold, porcelain; tooth-coloured composite resigns, and so on.
Root canals – If the decay progresses to a point where it has reached the inner nerves of your tooth (pulp) and has caused it to die, then it may be necessary to remove this pulp in order to try and repair and save the badly infected tooth. After clearing the area with medication to clear up any infection, the pulp is then replaced with a filling.
Crowns – If your tooth/teeth have been extensively damaged or weakened due to decay, you may be advised to get a crown. A crown is a custom-fitted covering (made of gold, porcelain, resin or other materials), that replaces your tooth’s natural crown. Your dentist will need to drill away all of the decayed area and enough of the rest of your tooth to ensure a proper fit.
Tooth extractions – in some instances, the teeth become so badly decayed that it is no longer possible to restore and it is necessary to remove it. Once this tooth has been extracted, it can leave a gap that may cause your other teeth to shift. Thus it is suggested to consider getting a bridge or a dental implant that replaces the missing tooth/teeth.