Accomplished Florida Dentist, Dr. Patrick Williams, Answers: Is a Filling the Only Way to Treat Your Cavity?

It is usually disappointing to hear that you have a cavity, and you may automatically assume that a filling is the only possible treatment. While dental fillings are easily the most popular way to treat a cavity, other options exist. “By evaluating the tooth, the severity of the problem, and discussing your dental health goals, your dentist can explore some of the different ways to treat a cavity,” states Florida dentist, Dr. Patrick Williams.

Dental Crowns

Some cavities cause extensive damage, and a simple dental filling isn’t enough to correct the problem. In these situations, more extensive treatment like a dental crown may be warranted. A dental crown is a customizable cap that covers the natural crown of the tooth. To place it, your dentist will first drill into the affected tooth to remove any of the decayed or infected material. Then, a porcelain or a resin crown is placed onto the tooth to protect it from further damage. Since the crown is custom-made, it will look and function just like a natural tooth.

Resin Infiltration

Resin infiltration is a new dental procedure that treats small cavities located in between the teeth. With the traditional dental filling method, the only way to access these troublesome cavities is to numb the mouth and drill away at the tooth to access the affected area. Fortunately, resin infiltration offers a more comfortable and less invasive option that skips the drill.

The resin infiltration process is relatively simple. First, the cavity is cleaned with a gel that prepares the tooth surface to accept the resin. Then, a perforated plastic sheet is placed between the affected teeth. The tooth is then filled with a liquid resin as it is pushed through the perforated sheet. A specialized dental curing light is applied to the tooth, which hardens the resin. All of this is completed without the use of anesthesia.

Fluoride Treatment

If your dentist detects your cavity during the earliest of stages, you may be able to avoid invasive procedures. Instead, a fluoride treatment may be ordered to restore the enamel and to prevent the cavity from growing. Professional fluoride treatments contain significantly more fluoride than mouthwash, tap water, or toothpaste, and they are easy to apply. Your dentist will brush a varnish onto the teeth and allow it to dry for several minutes. When used early enough, you may not need a dental filling, crown, or any other treatment.


Extraction should always be the last resort when it comes to treating a cavity, and if a filling is a viable treatment option, you are likely to go that route before you consider removing the tooth. Unfortunately, there are times when decay becomes so severe that a more conservative treatment isn’t possible, and extraction might be the only option. Fortunately, many restorative solutions can replace the tooth to avoid the adverse effects of a missing tooth, including dental implants and bridges.

The treatment option that is right for your cavity will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of the cavity and your general oral health. By weighing the pros and cons of each with your dentist, you can select the treatment that will best benefit your tooth.

About Dr. Patrick Williams:

Dr. Patrick Williams is a general dentist with a remarkably diverse skillset. A graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry, he has never stopped learning throughout 17 years of practice. Dr. Williams is certified in cutting-edge dental technologies, maintaining fellowships in such prestigious organizations as the Academy of General Dentistry and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, among others.

Dr. Patrick Williams around the web: