New Patients (336) 290-7401

Current Patients (336) 226-0855

3450 Forestdale Drive Burlington, NC 27215

How Long Can a Cavity Wait?

As plaque builds up in our mouths, we’re more likely to develop decay. Plaque feeds off the sugar content in foods and drinks, creating acid that wears away at our enamel. As enamel wears away, cavities can start to form. If you have a cavity in Burlington, NC, quick treatment is crucial to avoid further dental complications. While you may be able to wait a week or two, waiting too long could lead to the need for more invasive procedures. If left untreated, a cavity could grow and possibly cause tooth extraction.

A Cavity in Burlington NC could lead to an extraction if not treated quickly

Treatment Options for a Cavity in Burlington, NC

Tooth decay can come in various forms, shapes, and sizes. Not every cavity can be treated with the same procedure. When your dentist discovers decay, they’ll often examine the affected tooth and take X-rays to determine the size and scale of the issue. The larger the cavity, the more complex the treatment tends to be. Catching and treating a cavity early on could help save time and money.

Dental Filling

In the best-case scenario, your dentist may be able to restore your tooth with a simple dental filling. Fillings use a tooth-colored resin material that fills in the cavity and protects your tooth. A dental filling can often be beneficial for patients who have smaller cases of decay. If the decay is too deep or widespread, a filling may not be effective in preserving your tooth.

Inlays, Onlays, and Crowns

As a cavity continues to spread, it can lead to worse pain, discomfort, and sensitivity. Deep and wide cases of decay could be treated with an inlay, onlay, or dental crown. All three treatments effectively work the same, providing more coverage for decay than a dental filling. These restorations are typically made of either porcelain or ceramic to better match the color of your natural teeth. Their added durability and strength help them protect your tooth from further damage. 


In the worst-case scenario, your dentist may need to extract a decayed tooth. Cavities that have spread and affected the majority of a tooth’s surface could cause other complications, such as gum disease. Extracting the tooth is often the best way to ensure damage doesn’t continue to spread. If you do need an extraction, your dentist may recommend coordinating your treatment to get an immediate dental implant to restore your bite as soon as possible. 

If you have a cavity, it’s best not to wait for treatment. Even if you keep the area clean by brushing and flossing, decay can continue to spread and cause further damage. Call our office today at (336) 290-7401 to schedule a consultation and learn more about your treatment options for decay.