If you brush and floss regularly, and keep scheduled dental appointments, you greatly reduce the odds of developing a cavity. Unfortunately, many people, even among those who believe they are maintaining good oral health habits, will develop at least one cavity in their lifetime. If you are worried that you have a cavity, you should visit your dentist for treatment as soon as possible. When a cavity is left untreated, it can infect the interior of your tooth. An advanced cavity can cause more significant damage to a tooth, and can require a more involved treatment than a cavity that has been promptly treated.
Fillings Versus Crowns
Your dentist treats a cavity by excising the infected portion of your tooth, and restoring what has been lost with a filling. The metal-free composite materials used for fillings can match the color of your teeth, so that they do not stand out visually from your natural teeth. However, if too much of your tooth has been damaged by a cavity, you may need a dental crown. A dental crown is a custom-made cap that covers a weakened tooth. A crown assumes the function of the damaged tooth, and is designed to withstand the impact and pressures your teeth regularly undergo.
Root Canal Therapy
If left untreated, a cavity can erode enough of your tooth to infect its pulp. A root canal treatment is a procedure where your dentist removes an infection that has penetrated the interior of your tooth. Without a root canal treatment, an infection that has reached the pulp can kill your tooth. An infection at this stage can even spread to your jawbone, and threaten the health of your other teeth. A tooth that has received a root canal treatment will typically be restored with a dental crown.