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When you practice good oral health habits, you are doing your part to keep away cavities and tooth decay from taking over your smile. This is why you want to be faithful in our daily oral habits–brushing, flossing as well as seeing your dentist for regular dental cleanings and exams. At these visits, your dentist can spot and treat problems while they are still small and easily treated. But what happens when tooth decay is allowed to spread unchecked on a tooth? Let’s take a look!

The easiest treatment for a decaying tooth is cleaning out the decay and filling the hole with a dental filling. At Paul R. Downing, DMD, PC, we are pleased to offer tooth-colored fillings for our patients wanting a strong, aesthetically pleasing solution.

But what happens when the decay causes a cavity that is just too large for a dental filling? Or perhaps, the damage to the tooth is too extensive? Dr. Paul R. Downing, DMD may then elect to place a dental crown over the damaged tooth. This is a tooth-shaped “cap’ used to replace the outer shell of the tooth, after removing any decay. This customized crown is cemented over your tooth for a solid, visually appealing, fix.

Of course, sometimes untreated decay will spread to the inside of the tooth, affecting the pulp, nerve, and roots. In this scenario, we will resort to a root canal, where the decayed areas of the tooth clean are cleaned out–including the tooth pulp and roots. Once the decay is clean out, we will fill the hole with a rubber-like material and cover your tooth with a dental crown.

If all of these options are not viable because of extensive damage to the tooth from decay, we may need to extract the tooth. Our dentists seek to save teeth whenever possible, but if the decay is too extensive, Dr. Paul R. Downing, DMD may extract it and suggest a dental bridge restoration.

If you have a cavity, please don’t delay treatment because, in the early stages, the tooth can be restored. If you would like to have your tooth examined in Columbia, South Carolina, please call our dental team at 803-736-9991. We look forward to helping you maintain your healthy, beautiful smile!