I've a cavity in a tooth. It's very small but it seems that it's deep because I feel pain when I eat sugar on this tooth or when I do much stress for chewing.

I've heard that refilling a cavity is a painful process. That's why I don't wanna go to a doctor. I'll brush my teeth regularly and increase calcium intake trying to prevent more damage.. Will this work?

For me, it's better to remove the entire tooth (if it becomes too bad) than refilling it because that's less painful. Am I making the right decision?

Thanks a lot,

  • 4
    No, you're making a terrible decision. Filling cavities is not painful but having rotten teeth pulled is. Brushing and eating a bunch of calcium won't save the tooth. Now go see a dentist because we can't provide you with medical advice.
    – Carey Gregory
    Mar 23, 2017 at 0:45
  • 2
    I second what @Carey said, go to the dentist ASAP. Do brush and floss to preserve your other teeth, but this one needs a doctor.The sooner, the better. We can't say whether you are making a right decision because it calls for personal advice, but we could on the other hand answer a more general question and look up for references on whether filling cavities is painful and how the doctors handle this, as well as what strategies are or are not effective in dealing with cavities (with references too, if there are any). You can always edit your question to make it more on-topic.
    – Lucky
    Mar 23, 2017 at 2:50
  • 3
    A rotten teeth will hurt like hell. (1). Believe me. Whereas, just as Carey pointed out, filling a cavity won't. Please see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent serious damage to other teeth as well! If you are afraid of your dentist as a person, consider changing your dentist. If you are afraid of the dentist as a doctor and because of what he does, you have a very common fear. (1): Under almost all circumstances
    – Narusan
    Mar 23, 2017 at 6:26
  • My family actually owns a dentistry though I am not one myself. There is nothing to be afraid of at the dentist. Take it from me for I've had 8 teeth pulled. I am suprised that so many people are afraid of the dentist. I think that they get the wrong idea from the media. Also your health should never be ignored. Even those outside of my family are all incredibly nice people and they are there specifically to help you. They have to work really hard to become a (tooth) doctor at college too so they are hard working and certainly well educated. It might just be because the people there are my fav
    – geizio
    Mar 25, 2018 at 6:15

2 Answers 2


When you go to the dentist the first thing she will do is not to fix that cavity, but an inspection of your teeth. This will give you a chance to meet and talk to the dentist before anything gets serious and you can ask all the questions you want.

The truth about the pain is, filling cavities used to be extremely painful in the long gone days before anaesthetics were invented. These days you get a jab, the part of your mouth with the sick tooth will go numb and you will not feel a thing during the treatment. Even after the anaesthetic wears off there won't be any pain as there is only pain during the cleaning of the cavity but it stops right after the tools are removed from the tooth, this is where teeth are different to flesh wounds.

On the other hand, if you wait too long you will be in for a lot of pain. From your description I would think that your teeth are overall rather healthy. A healthy tooth can be very sensitive even with a small hole that is not very deep. This means there is a lot of potential for the pain to become worse. At some point it will become permanent. This can happen suddenly. You may wake up in the middle of the night and will be in pure pain, as if you had a glowing hot iron in your mouth and you can't get rid of it. Also there will be no one close by to give you any real help (like a dentist could).

So, if you think going to the dentist is scary, not going is a lot scarier.

How do I know all this? From experience. From my mothers side I inherited teeth that are prone to cavities so I had regular treatments starting with my milk teeth. The only dentist in the area believed in treating children without anaesthetics so they would remember the pain and look better after their teeth. This was forty years ago and any dentist with this kind of attitude today would not have their license for very long (or so I hope). This left me scared of dentists too and as an adult I didn't go for a couple of years, until one of my teeth became so sore as I described above. The pain was a lot worse than getting treated even without anaesthetics and there was no end to it.

Today I am more scared of not going. Because of the condition of my teeth there was a time where I have been more frequently to the dentist than to the hairdresser and these days, having been to sane dentists ever since, I am not scared of going at all.


Dental Student here, I highly recommend that you go see the dentist. First if the cavity gets into the pulp, you will need Root Canal Therapy to save that tooth, plus a core, and crown. Which is expensive. If you get it treated early, a filling may be all you need. A third possibility is getting the tooth extracted and getting an implant, but that is expensive. Using the proper toothpaste can in fact help arrest the decay, but the decay that is already present is there to stay. Prevident 5000 which is high in fluoride and MI paste which is high in calcium and phosphate ions can help remineralize the tooth and make it "stronger." Regular cleanings are important, because they will clean your teeth and put fluoride varnish on which helps strengthen your teeth, also chewing gum with xylitol will help stimulate saliva which will help your teeth and keep the bacteria count to a minimum.

  • 1
    Welcome to Health.SE. Since health is an important topic, the site has a strict policy that all answers should be backed up with reliable references in order to provide the community with the means to assess the merit of the answer, regardless of the reader's background. See this list of reliable sources. If you still have trouble with this, feel free to visit the help center.
    – Narusan
    Mar 28, 2017 at 15:37

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