Dental cavity – 10 questions about the prevention and treatment of cavities

A hole in a tooth can feel like an enmity or a toothache - or you don't feel anything special.

A dental cavity may feel like a sensation of tingling or toothache – or you won't feel anything special. Whether it is just developing or a deep cavity that has progressed further, a visit to a dentist is worthwhile. In the best case, the cavity that the dentist notices begins to settle with good home care.

Dental cavities in a nutshell:

  • Cavities are individual. In addition to your own oral care, it is influenced by factors such as the composition of your saliva, your diet and certain diseases and medications.
  • You can prevent cavities and sometimes even stop them from starting by cleaning your teeth properly and cutting down on sugar.
  • Dental cavities should be treated, as oral health has a direct link to your general health.


A dentist will assess the condition of your oral and dental health and give you personal recommendations on how often you should have a dental check-up.

Book an appointment for a dental check-up

Hammashoitopelkotarkistuksessa voit yhdessä pelkopotilaiden hoitoon perehtyneen hammaslääkärin kanssa kohdata hammaspelkosi turvallisesti omaan tahtiisi.

Varaa hammashoitoa pelkäävän tarkastus

Dental cavities – symptoms?

  • At first, your tooth may become sensitive when you drink hot or cold or eat something sweet.
  • As the cavity progresses, the tooth may sometimes ache. If your tooth aches, book an appointment to see your dentist.
  • It is worth remembering that it is individual what kind of symptoms dental cavity causes.
  • A cavity does not necessarily cause any symptoms. You will not necessarily experience toothache until the cavity has reached the dental nerve.

What causes dental cavities?

  • A cavity develops in a tooth when bacteria in the plaque on your teeth digest sugar, producing acids that dissolve minerals from the tooth enamel.
  • When many acid attacks accumulate and the teeth are not cleaned of plaque, the tooth surface softens and a cavity begins to develop.
  • The cavity first enters the enamel of the tooth, from where it progresses to the bone beneath the enamel.
  • Eventually, an untreated dental cavity will progress to the nerve of the tooth - unless the dentist can repair it in time.
  • Taking care of your teeth and filling cavities is important because oral health has a surprisingly large impact on your overall health.

How will my dentist treat a cavity in my tooth?

  • Usually, the dentist will fill a cavity that is progressing. Filling a tooth means that the dentist removes the softened part of the tooth, either with hand instruments or a drill. The hole is filled with a filling material and shaped to fit your bite.
  • If the cavity has reached the nerve of the tooth, root canal treatment can be performed on the tooth.
  • A large dental cavity or a cavity in a very awkward place may result in the dentist being unable to fill it. In this case, tooth extraction may be the best solution.
  • There's no need to worry about pain, as our dentist will always check the anaesthetic is working before the procedure and ask you how you feel during treatment.
  • Are you suffering from a major or minor dental fear? At Mehiläinen, we focus on identifying and treating dental fear, so you can come to us just as you are. Our dentists have a wide range of methods for treating patients with fear.

Can a cavity in a tooth heal by itself?

An incipient cavity means that the enamel is softened and damaged. The cavity is then only inside the enamel, which means it has not reached the dentine.

You can try to stop the cavity from developing like this:

  • Care and clean your teeth more carefully.
  • Eat and drink fewer foods and drinks with a high sugar content. Even the smallest changes matter.
  • Use fluoride and xylitol products according to the instructions of your dentist.
  • If you have any small cavities in your teeth, see your dentist regularly.

Why do I get more cavities than others?

Cavities are individual. Maybe you are one of those whose teeth accumulate decay and tartar more easily than others?

Factors that contribute to this include:

  • the amount and composition of saliva
  • pregnancy, diabetes and certain medications that alter the secretion or composition of saliva
  • eating rhythm and quality of diet
  • having cavities in your teeth where food is easily trapped
  • if there is room for improvement in cleaning your teeth

If your dentist always finds more cavities during your check-up, you should clean your teeth more thoroughly and have more frequent check-ups.

Your dentist will advise you on suitable cleaning routines and tell you how often you should have your teeth checked. For many, it's a year, for some it's six months - and for others it's just once every two years.

What can I do to prevent cavities in my teeth?

The most important thing is to clean your teeth well, avoid snacking and see your dentist regularly.

Good dental care looks like this:

  1. Brush your teeth every morning and evening.
  2. Favour an electric toothbrush, as it cleans your teeth most effectively.
  3. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  4. Remember to clean the spaces between your teeth too.
  5. Eat no more than five times a day to avoid unnecessary acid attacks.
  6. Drink tap water or plain mineral water.

However, few people are perfect at taking care of their teeth at home, so don't beat yourself up if you get cavities. And you won't be scolded by our dentists either.

Roman Rajala, our dentist in charge, was interviewed for this article.

Price list and payment

Take into account in the price list
The price estimate does not include the outpatient clinic fee (€29.90). No Kanta fee is charged for visits to the dentist.
ServiceMobile Benefit pricePrice estimate
Dental check-up
65.50 €
Without Kela reimbursement
81.00 €
Dental check-up for patients with dental fear
96.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
111.50 €
Dental X-ray of the teeth and jaws
Mobile Benefit 95.00 €
The price with a doctor's referral after Kela compensation is €80.
106.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
115.00 €
Tartar removal

30–45 minute appointment with a dental hygienist.

Prices 102.00171.00 €, without Kela reimbursement 107.00189.00 €
from 102.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
from 107.00 €
Dental fillings

1–3 surfaces.

Prices 91.00253.00 €, without Kela reimbursement 101.00276.00 €
from 91.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
from 101.00 €
Ceramic filling of the tooth

1–3 surfaces.

Prices 271.00693.00 €, without Kela reimbursement 271.00750.00 €
from 271.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
from 271.00 €
Dental ceramic crown

Laboratory costs are not included in the price estimate.

Prices 598.00755.00 €, without Kela reimbursement 598.00755.00 €
from 598.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
from 598.00 €
Chipped tooth
Prices 91.00253.00 €, without Kela reimbursement 101.00276.00 €
from 91.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
from 101.00 €
Tooth extraction
Prices 105.00709.00 €, without Kela reimbursement 115.00771.00 €
from 105.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
from 115.00 €
Tooth whitening

Price estimate given at the free consultation appointment.

Prices 95.00436.00 €, without Kela reimbursement 95.00436.00 €
from 95.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
from 95.00 €
Whitening consultation appointment

Includes an individual price estimate for teeth whitening.

Kela reimbursement deducted from the price
Prices 36.0037.00 €, without Kela reimbursement 39.0040.00 €
from 36.00 €
Without Kela reimbursement
from 39.00 €

Frequently asked questions about tooth decay

Many people wonder how to identify a cavity in a tooth. Initially, a cavity may appear as a pale patch. Later, the tooth may turn brownish. A black spot on the tooth is most likely a stagnant cavity.

In many cases, however, the cavity is felt rather than seen.

At first, a cavity may feel like a toothache - especially when you eat or drink something hot, cold or sweet. As the cavity progresses, the tooth may ache and the surface of the tooth may feel broken when you feel it with your tongue.

You can try to stop the cavity so that it does not progress all the way to the bone of the tooth. Do this by cleaning your teeth especially carefully, and avoid sugar.

You can, because the caries bacteria is contagious. The longer a child’s teeth in the mouth develop without the presence of caries bacteria, the better the oral health of the child. So it's a good idea not to put your child's spoon or pacifier in your mouth and not to kiss your child on the mouth.

However, it's OK to be close if your dentist has checked that you don't have any progressive oral diseases - so only good bacteria are transmitted to your child. A healthy parent's oral contact with a child can reduce the child's risk of developing allergies, rather than putting the child at risk of tooth decay.

Read more

Dental check-up - the foundation of oral health
Read more
Root canal treatment - a more relaxed procedure than you might think
Read more
Dental fear is common - We will be there for you
Read more