How Does a Dentist Fix a Cavity?

2 dentists looking at patient.

How Does a Dentist Fix a Cavity?

According to the CDC, 90% of adults over 20 have had at least one cavity in their lives. While they are common, it’s not always clear how they are resolved. So, how does a dentist fix a cavity? Our Point Pleasant dentist breaks down the most common solutions for them.

What is a Cavity?

Put simply, cavities are tooth decay that appear as black or brown pits. They cannot heal themselves and will only get worse with time. For this reason, a dentist will need to intervene to remove the decayed portion of your tooth and repair it.

How Does a Dentist Fix a Cavity?

Cavities can be of varying seriousness. The severity to which they progress is primarily influenced by your diet and how long you wait to have them fixed. Depending on the progression, a dentist will use one or more methods to fix it.


Before a dentist can fix a cavity, they must numb the area and remove the decayed portion of the tooth, so it doesn’t continue deteriorating. With dental fillings, a dentist will inject a composite liquid into the area where the cavity was removed. The filling will then bond to your tooth as it hardens.


Dentists use crowns in cases of severe cavities. The process of fixing a cavity with a crown involves completely removing the enamel from the decaying tooth and fixing the crown (or cap) onto the remaining portion of it. Crowns are also used when decay progresses so much that you lose a tooth. In this instance, a dental implant is placed, and the crown will attach to that instead of your tooth.

Root Canal Treatment

When cavities are allowed to progress, they will reach the root canal and infect the nerves and pulp inside your tooth. At this stage, a root canal is required. A dentist will fix this severe cavity by removing everything within your tooth and cleaning the tooth walls. They will then fill the empty space to seal it.

How Long Does it Take for a Dentist to Fix a Cavity?

Fixing a cavity usually takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Generally, the more severe your cavity is, the longer it will take to fix. For example, a filling can be completed in 20 minutes, while a root canal usually takes about an hour.

Does it Hurt When a Dentist Fixes a Cavity?

It does not hurt when a dentist fixes your cavity. The area around the tooth being worked on will be numbed, so you won’t feel a thing. The side of your mouth that was numbed will remain that way for a couple of hours after the procedure, but once it wears off, you should feel completely fine.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Cavity Fixed?

Getting your cavity fixed can cost anywhere from $100 to $3,000. Composite fillings are on the low end of the range while crowns with implants are on the upper end. Talk to your dentist about what your options are for fixing your cavity to figure out what’s best for you.

Does Insurance Cover Getting Cavities Fixed?

In most cases, dental insurance will at least partially cover the cost of the treatment. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance provider to see if and how much your policy covers for any procedure.

Let Our Dentist Fix Your Cavity in Point Pleasant, NJ

If you think you have a cavity, let us take care of it at our dental office in Point Pleasant. Dr. Zicchino has over 20 years of dental experience. To have our dentist fix your cavity and prevent it from getting worse, book an appointment online or call us today!

About the Author

Dr. Joseph Zicchino provides a wide array of cosmetic dentistry services, including Invisalign® Clear Aligners, at his practice in Point Pleasant, NJ. He earned his dental degree from NYU Dental School and established Coastal Dental Group in 2004. For more information call (732) 714-1030 or to schedule an appointment!