Tooth Decay Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Tooth Decay
Sometimes tooth decay that is stopped before it reaches the dentin (second layer of the tooth) will repair itself.
Treatment for more severe decay includes:
When decay reaches the dentin, your dentist will treat it by:
- Numbing the tooth and surrounding tissue area
- Removing the decay with instruments
- Filling the hole with a dental filling; the filling can be silver or tooth colored
Tooth decay that reaches the pulp and/or root of the tooth is treated with a root canal :
- The tooth is numbed and a hole is drilled through the top of the tooth.
- Pus and dead tissue are removed from the tooth.
- The inside of the tooth and the root (nerve) canals are cleaned and filled with a permanent filling.
- The root (nerve) canal is sealed.
- A crown is placed on the tooth to protect it.
Tooth Extraction (Removal)
Removal of the tooth is required if:
- Tooth decay and/or tooth infection is too extensive for filling or root canal.
- A break or crack in the tooth that has allowed for decay is too severe to be repaired.
- An extensive infection exists between the tooth and gum.
If the tooth is removed, it will be replaced with:
- A partial bridge
- A denture
- A tooth implant
If you are diagnosed with tooth decay, follow your dentist's instructions.