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It can happen to anyone: pain in a tooth. If you’ve had this in the past, you knew that the pain probably meant you had a cavity, which meant just getting a simple filling and being on your way. A dentist, however, has special and specific tools at her disposal to make sure that the pain you’re experiencing is in fact a simple cavity. Cavities can range from mild to severe. A mild cavity is indeed treatable with a filling, but more advanced decay may require other measures such as root canal treatment.


Fillings are a dentist’s typical response to smaller amounts of decay, but they’re not always what’s needed to fix the problem. Deeper decay is a bacterial infection, and if it is significant or not treated appropriately, it could spread to adjacent teeth and ultimately affect the root, causing infection at the bone level. And once the bone is compromised, a tooth cannot be saved.


While we all want the easiest and quickest solution, infection in a tooth is serious business. The decay must be thoroughly examined by the dentist so she can provide the best course of action. An additional visit or scan isn’t always convenient, but in the end, these extra steps could mean the difference between saving the tooth and losing it forever.