Fillings are the most common form of treatment for initial, moderate, or very severe tooth decay. The dentist will first give you injections to numb the tooth, then drill the affected tooth, remove the affected tissue, disinfect the cavity and finally insert a filling made of a suitable material into the drilled hole to restore the strength and shape of the tooth structure. Although most modern fillings consist of composite resin (photocomposites), fillings made from a variety of other materials are also used. Other materials, such as glass ionomer cement, metal/amalgam or gold fillings, may also be used for occlusal or posterior tooth decay. For cavities on the lateral, occlusal sides of the teeth or in the interdental spaces, the dentist may opt for composite resin for the visible part of the tooth, which addresses the aesthetic aspect, is functional and looks better. Based on the severity and location of the decay, the dentist will know what treatment is best for you and recommend the most appropriate filling.
If the damage caused by tooth decay goes so deep that it cannot be treated with any of the above methods, your dentist will probably suggest a root canal cleaning. Once tooth decay has penetrated the protective enamel layer of the tooth, it settles in the very center of the tooth, in the dentin, or dentin. Tooth decay that severely erodes the dentin can also damage the nerves in the tooth root. Only root canal treatment can solve this problem. During this procedure, the dentist removes the damaged nerve and surrounding tissue made up of blood vessels or pulp under anesthesia and fills the entire area with a special endodontic filling. If a large portion of the tooth needs to be removed during the procedure, the dentist may recommend fabricating the rest of the crown after the procedure is complete to maximize the life of the devitalized tooth.