General dentistry deals with removing caries (keeping maximum volume of healthy tissue) and replacing it with variety of filling materials like: composites chemo- and light-cured , compomers, glassionomers and prosthetic build ups inlay/onlay. The last ones are made with direct method (by dentist in office) and indirect method (by dental technician in dental laboratory).
To judge the proper range of preparation we use magnification tools like dental loupes and microscope. It gives us opportunity to distinguish young caries tissue from healthy tooth, find caries under gums and diagnose cracks of enamel and fillings. Type of material used to fill the cavity and build-up the tooth is every time chosen specifically depending on teeth condition and patients expectations.
Important feature of dental caries is its permanent progress. It means that tissue covered by this disease will never heal by itself. Regular control and early intervention provide not only healthy teeth but also smaller damage and decreases costs of treatment. Untreated caries leads to necrosis of dental pulp and requires root canal treatment sometimes supported by prosthetic abutment. In boarder cases neglected caries can cause massive destruction of tooth. In such case the only treatment option is extraction of tooth.