How Does A Tooth Heal?
Dr. Nara told us just how much healing could be expected from a tooth: "It ranges from some little pinpoint cavities here and there all the way to a tooth that's rotted right off at the gum line, you're not going to grow a whole new crown on it. The little ones will heal, remineralize up to about two millimeters deep. What will happen in a tooth that is severely decayed is that the stump will firm up. Instead of being soft and mushy, it develops a leathery consistency. A healed tooth will remain resistant to decay as long as the oral conditions are beneficial."
Erling Johansen, D.M.D., Ph.D., a dental researcher at the University of Rochester, also told PREVENTION that teeth can heal themselves. "The extent of remineralization depends on the location of the cavity. If the cavity is in an area where the saliva has access to it - and if you have sufficient saliva - that cavity can be hardened. The cavity won't progress any further. If the person decides he or she wants it filled for aesthetic reasons, you can just touch it up a bit. The drilling is much simpler, then."