Dental Health and Cavities
What Is the Treatment for Cavities? continued...
If the decay causes the nerve or pulp of the tooth to die, a root canal will be performed. During a root canal, the center of the tooth (including the nerve, blood vessels, and tissue) is removed along with the decayed portions of the tooth. The roots are then filled with a sealing material. If necessary, a crown can be placed over the filled tooth.
Several new cavity treatments are under development. One experimental technique uses fluorescent light to detect the development of cavities long before they can be detected by traditional means, such as X-rays or a dental exam. In many cases, if cavities can be detected early, the tooth decay process can be stopped or reversed.
Researchers are also working on a "smart filling" to prevent further tooth decay by slowly releasing fluoride over time around fillings and in adjacent teeth.