General Dentistry Treatments for a Cavity

General Dentistry Services Tucson, AZ

It is the job of a general dentistry professional to help patients maintain optimal oral health via the most cost-effective and non-invasive means possible. Part of this responsibility involves identifying and correcting minor issues before they become more costly and damaging. One common minor issue general dentists regularly treat is the cavity.

How cavities are treated with general dentistry

The type of treatment a person undergoes for a cavity depends largely on the extent of the decay. Minor decay, for instance, may be resolved with in-office fluoride treatments. More extensive decay, however, may require a much more comprehensive approach that consists of one or more of the following treatment methods.  

Fluoride treatments

In the world of general dentistry, fluoride is a miracle worker. Not only does it help to strengthen tooth enamel but there is evidence that it can reverse a cavity that is in its early stages. Fluoride is often found in several easily accessible substances, such as tap water, toothpaste, and mouthwashes. However, patients who want to deliver the most impact to a new cavity should consult with a dentist regarding in-office fluoride treatments.


Fillings are the second line of defense against tooth decay. If a tooth is beyond the point of repair but not quite bad enough to qualify for a crown, a dentist may recommend a filling. These tooth restorations are made of composite resin, porcelain, or various metals and are used to fill gaps or holes left by decay. Before placing a filling, a dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth so that it does not progress.

Inlays and onlays

Even as late as a decade ago, crowns were the third line of defense to tooth decay. However, advances in dental technology led to inlays and onlays, which are a happy medium between fillings and crowns. Inlays and onlays work like fillings, but both are able to support larger areas of the tooth’s surface or internal structure. Onlays can even replace the entire cusps of the teeth.


Crowns are the last resort for decayed teeth and the final restoration measure a dentist will attempt before recommending a root canal. A dentist can use a crown to cover a decayed or damaged tooth. The purpose of a dental crown is two-fold. On the one hand, it protects the tooth from further damage. On the other, it increases the patient’s comfort and protects against sensitivity, pain, and infection.

Root canal treatment

If a tooth is so severely damaged that it exposes the pulp (the interior of the tooth) to bacteria, a dentist may have no choice but to remove the diseased pulp via a root canal. Though somewhat invasive, if done early enough, root canal treatment can prevent the complete extraction of the decayed tooth.


Treating cavities is a large part of what a general dentistry professional does. If you have a cavity, talk to a local dentist about your treatment options right away. 

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

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