Dental Cavities Treatment Chapel Hill, NC

Chapel Hill Family and Cosmetic Dentistry offers complete dental care for children and adults. Our main concern is preventing tooth decay. We also offer various services to manage and treat tooth decay, including dental fillings, crowns, and root canals. Treating a tooth cavity in our Chapel Hill, NC, office can restore the function and comfort of your teeth and gums. 

Dr. James Furgurson is a family dentist in Chapel Hill, NC, dedicated to his patients’ health. If you notice any differences in the health of your teeth and gums, contact our office. We will help you get the care you need. Learn about the causes, signs, and treatments for dental cavities below.

tooth cavities in chapel hill nc

What Causes Tooth Cavities?

Plaque is a sticky substance that builds inside the mouth along the gum line and between the teeth. Bacteria in plaque become activated by sugar and starch in our food, producing an acid that can erode tooth enamel and form cavities.

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush and floss daily, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and limit sodas and candy. Scheduling routine appointments for biannual dental cleanings in our office will also ensure that your teeth and gums are deeply cleaned.

Common Signs of Cavities

Our team can identify early signs of tooth decay before most patients experience any physical symptoms.

Common signs of tooth decay include:

  • White spots on teeth
  • Spontaneous tooth pain
  • Dark or dull teeth
  • Toothaches
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Visible holes in teeth (tooth cavities)

Early on, a tooth infection can cause dull tooth pain. Over time, as the infection progresses, it can lead to chronic tooth pain and sensitivity. Addressing changes in your dental health as soon as possible can prevent problems like cavities. 

How to Prevent Tooth Cavities

Dr. Furgurson can prevent tooth cavities with professional cleaning, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants. Maintaining regular dental check-ups is key to preventing and diagnosing these problems. At regular dental visits, we provide exams. During these examinations, we will look for signs of cavities. We will take dental X-rays to determine if you have infected dental pulp. 

During a dental cleaning, we remove bacterial buildup and food debris from the teeth and gums. We also floss between teeth and polish the teeth. After cleaning, we recommend sealants and fluoride. These cavity treatments help protect and strengthen teeth. 

Sealants are plastic coverings that protect teeth. We place sealants on the molars and premolars, the teeth in the back of the mouth. We apply sealants to the molars because they can be hard to reach. Our office recommends sealants for children when their permanent molars grow. Protecting the molars can prevent cavities in these teeth.

Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps strengthen the tooth enamel. During fluoride treatment, we apply a varnish to the teeth. We will ask that you wait thirty minutes after the treatment so the fluoride can penetrate the tooth enamel. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste at home can also help prevent cavities. 

At-home care is essential to cavity prevention. Before brushing, you can floss between your teeth to remove leftover food. Then, brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid abrasive toothpastes that can wear down your teeth over time. 

Tooth Cavity Treatment in Chapel Hill, NC

If you already have signs of tooth decay, he may recommend the following treatments:

  • Composite Dental Fillings: We can place composite dental fillings in a single visit. Fillings treat minor tooth cavities. They seal out infection and blend in with natural teeth. Composite fillings are also known as white fillings because they use tooth-colored materials. 
  • Porcelain or Gold Fillings: If the tooth decay is more extensive, Dr. Furgurson may use an indirect restoration such as a metal or ceramic filling to protect the tooth. Because metal fillings are durable, they are often used on teeth in the back of the mouth for teeth that take the brunt of chewing forces.
  • Root Canal: When tooth decay progresses close to the tooth’s nerve, it can cause extreme pain. A root canal procedure will eliminate the infection from inside the tooth. We remove the infected pulp from the canal and clean the tooth during the procedure. Dr. Furgurson can restore the tooth following the procedure using a dental crown to prevent future problems.
  • Tooth Extraction: A large cavity can compromise the tooth structure in the most severe cases. If an infection is extensive enough that we cannot save the tooth, we may recommend tooth removal. While patients may fear pain during an extraction, we ensure you feel comfortable during this treatment.  

One or more of these treatments can help restore the comfort and function of your teeth. We will discuss your options after determining the extent of your tooth cavities. 

Tooth Cavity FAQs

Learn more about tooth cavity treatment in Chapel Hill, NC, with answers to these common questions:

Can a tooth with a cavity heal itself?

Cavities cannot heal themselves naturally. Patients should schedule an appointment with their dentist when they notice a cavity or tooth pain. The sooner you fill your cavities, the sooner you will not feel pain. Treatment will also prevent further damage to your tooth and remove your infection. 

Do cavities spread from tooth to tooth?

Cavities do not spread from tooth to tooth. However, it is not uncommon for patients to have neighboring cavities. Cavities are caused by plaque and bacteria entering the tooth, causing decay. If you have excess plaque in one specified area of your mouth, you may have cavities next to each other. Harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay can spread throughout the mouth.

How long does it take for a cavity to destroy a tooth?

Cavities slowly attack the tooth over time. It may take months or even years for a tooth to reach the point of destruction. As soon as you think you may have a cavity, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Cleaning and filling the cavity ensures that pain and damage cannot progress.

Schedule a Dental Exam Today

Do you have frequent toothaches? Are you noticing your teeth are more sensitive than usual? You may have a tooth cavity. Call Chapel Hill Cosmetic and Family Dentistry for cavity treatment at 919.205.9308. You can also schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Furgurson online.

Our goal is for our patients to maintain healthy and balanced smiles. Please let us know if you have questions about dental cavities and tooth decay treatment. We’re here to help you.