The dentist can diagnose a cavity or several cavities that need to be treated. You may not be in any pain at the time. But if you have cavities, you will be told that the cavities will get bigger if not treated.
Since you want to save your teeth, you will want to make your appointment for the fillings. Once there, the dentist will usually give you a local anesthetic to numb the area. And once you are numb, the dentist will drill out the decay and place a filling to restore the correct contour of the tooth to match what was there originally.
Most of the time your tooth will be totally fine or just slightly sensitive for a couple of days. A mild analgesic like Tylenol, Advil or even Aspirin can help get through that period. That is, unless you have a tooth sensitivity.
But sometimes, though infrequent, a tooth may give more problems than that. The nerve can be affected by the drilling and cause an inflammation of the nerves in the middle of the tooth known as the pulp. This is called a pulpitis. There are 2 kinds of pulpitis: reversible and irreversible. While continuing to take medication the nerve can start to calm down and then all is just fine. But sometimes the nerve doesn’t calm down and continues to hurt or even throb which is irreversible.
Seeing an Endodontist
In this case the patient would see an endodontist (root canal specialist). An endodontist can provide a special treatment to remove the nerve of the tooth and have that space cleaned out thoroughly. The space is then filled with gutta percha, the material inside golf balls. After this is completed, the patient would get either a new filling or have a crown placed on the tooth. This is determined by how much of the tooth is missing.
Sometimes the nerve can be affected even after of months or years of being just fine. This condition is more likely with deeper fillings where the nerve was partially affected prior to or during the actual treatment. In this case an irreversible pulpitis is likely to be occurring which is also treated by root canal therapy.
Though frustrating, these pains can be treated. The trickiest problem, however, is with cracks in the teeth. The location of the cracks will determine the treatment for that tooth. Cracks can be best verified by a CT scan. If the crack goes down along the root or cracks the tooth in half, it is no longer salvageable and must be extracted. If the crack gets into the nerve, the tooth can frequently be treated with a root canal, but must have a crown to protect the tooth from the crack which can enlarge and render the tooth unrestorable. A crown is frequently used to protect the tooth from opening the crack before it gets into the nerve.
These conditions are rare – never neglect to have your cavities filled. And if there are difficulties, we are prepared to address them at Lohmann Dental. We have loads of experience with all kinds of situations. And we remain knowledgeable in all the latest data and techniques available in dentistry.