How a General Dentist Treats a Dental Cavity

General Dentist Memphis, TN

You might want to head to a general dentist if you find yourself dealing with a cavity. Cavities are tiny holes that form on teeth because of tooth decay. Acids created by oral bacteria eat away at teeth surfaces, creating those tiny holes. Other symptoms include reoccurring toothaches, increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods, and bad breath.

Cavities do not disappear on their own when left untreated. An untreated cavity will continue to expand until it leaves the tooth’s pulp chamber compromised. It can even lead to most of the visible part of the tooth falling out or an infection.

How a general dentist treats cavities

The severity of a patient’s cavity determines how a general dentist decides to approach fixing it. Commonly used treatment options include the following.


Fillings are used to close up cavities, preventing them from further expanding. The process involves removing decayed material from the tooth, cleaning the area, and applying the putty-like filling to the tooth.

Composite bonding

Composite bonding is a more popular option than fillings because it can be color-matched with the patient’s teeth, unlike silver amalgam fillings. Bonding can be used to close up cavities and repair teeth structures that have been damaged by decay.

Fluoride treatments

This treatment infuses a patient’s teeth with fluoride, re-mineralizing it. Fluoride treatments can reverse tooth decay if performed during the early stage of decay. The treatment involves biting down on a mouth tray that has been filled with a fluoride solution.


Crowns are typically recommended when a cavity has severely damaged a tooth. A crown can be used to hold the tooth together so it does not fall apart, and it protects the tooth from further decay. A crown also restores the appearance and function of the tooth it covers.

Onlays and inlays

Think of these as partial crowns that are recommended when a cavity is too large to be fixed with a filling, but not quite damaged enough for a crown. Onlays and inlays are made in dental labs just like crowns, and they are cemented to the patient’s teeth.

Root canal

Root canals are performed when a cavity has reached a tooth’s pulp chamber. The area contains the tooth’s nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissues. These soft tissues are vulnerable to infection when left exposed to irritants in the mouth. A root canal cleans out the pulp chamber and seals the tooth back up. Teeth that have been repaired with a root canal are typically covered with crowns to protect them.


If a cavity is left untreated, the tooth might become infected. A tooth infection that threatens to spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream might prompt a dentist to recommend an extraction.

Get rid of tooth decay

Dealing with one or more cavities? Call or stop by our Memphis clinic to learn more about your treatment options.

Request an appointment here: or call Dental Partners White Station at (901) 201-4577 for an appointment in our Memphis office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: General Dentist in Memphis, TN.

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