What is a cavity?
A cavity can be thought of as an infection in your tooth. The infection is made of harmful bacteria and will use the sugars in your body to attack the hard surfaces in your mouth. This means the infection will attack the enamel and dentin found in your teeth. Eventually, the infection wears a small hole in your tooth, which is the cavity. Left unchecked the cavity will continue to grow.
What happens to your tooth after the hole is formed?
If not treated right away, the cavity will continue to grow, encompassing the tooth and its hard surfaces. Eventually, the infection will encase so much of the tooth that it may no longer be possible to simply fill the small hole the cavity created. In this case, it may be necessary to use a full dental crown to replace the tooth. If the cavity has progressed further into the tooth, the pulp chamber can become infected. Once the pulp is infected, you will notice extreme pain because the nerves in the tooth are now being infected also. The infection in the pulp can lead to an abscess. Typically, once a cavity has reached this point, the only way to fix the problem is with a root canal to completely remove the infection from inside the tooth. After the root canal, the usual course of action is to finish the tooth with a dental crown.
But what if the infection goes beyond?
In extremely serious cases where the cavity has been allowed to progress further, it may be necessary to completely extract the tooth. Once the tooth is fully removed, a replacement tooth would be inserted in its place. Having a root canal and a crown is quite an expense, and paying for a replacement tooth is even more costly. Having regular dentist visits every six months can help identify and correct a cavity before the problem becomes serious.