Can a Cavity Become an Emergency?

Emergency Dentist Tucson, AZ

A cavity is a hole that develops on a tooth due to acids destroying its structures. These acids are created by oral bacteria that feast on the sugars in food particles left on teeth after meals. A cavity is a minor dental issue that can be treated with dental fillings.

A cavity typically does not have any symptoms during its early stages, but patients might begin to experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods/beverages, toothaches, and sensitivity to bite forces as the cavity expands.

If left untreated, the cavity will expand until it opens up the pulp chamber or causes the tooth to break apart. Both scenarios are classified as dental emergencies.

Dealing with a dental emergency caused by a cavity

The pulp chamber of a tooth being opened up by tooth decay leaves the soft tissues in there exposed to bacteria and acids in the mouth. The acids will irritate the nerve in the tooth, and bacteria can infect it. Tooth infections count as dental emergencies because they are typically accompanied by excruciating toothaches. An infection can also spread to other areas, like the heart, where it can have life-threatening effects.

A cavity can compromise a tooth’s structure to an extent that most of the tooth’s crown falls off. This leaves the pulp chamber exposed to bacteria and the visible part of the lost tooth. At this point, the tooth is too damaged to be covered with a standard crown or another restoration, so it needs to be removed and replaced with an oral prosthetic like a dental implant. The implant serves as an artificial root, and a crown is put on it to replace the lost tooth.

Treating severe tooth decay

Here are the common treatments used to treat severe cavities.

1. Root canals

Root canals have a scary reputation when it comes to dental treatments, but patients do not feel anything during the procedure. Also, any tooth pain that the patient was dealing with prior to the treatment is typically gone afterward.

The local anesthetics administered during the treatment make for a pain-free experience. During the procedure, the dentist will drill a hole into the affected tooth so the nerve and blood vessels can be removed with special files. The tooth is then sealed with gutta-percha and rebuilt with composite resin or covered with a crown, depending on its location.

2. Extraction

If tooth decay has destroyed a tooth to the point that it can no longer be fitted with a crown or an infection threatens to spread to other parts of the body, a dentist might recommend an extraction. The removed tooth can then be replaced with prosthetics like dentures, bridges, or implants.

Get treatment for your decayed tooth

The longer that you wait to have your cavities treated, the more likely you will need procedures like root canals or extractions. Give us a call or visit our Tucson clinic to schedule an appointment with our dentist.

Request an appointment here: or call Simply Smiles Dentistry at (520) 368-3351 for an appointment in our Tucson office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Cavity in Tucson, AZ.

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