When damage to the enamel of a tooth occurs, it is most likely from tooth decay. Tooth decay, or damage to the surface of a tooth is caused by bacteria in the mouth that create acids that damage the tooth. Tooth decay can lead to cavities or holes in the teeth. So, if tooth decay is not treated by a dentist, it can cause infections, pain or even tooth loss. Read further as we explain how tooth decay is caused, what the symptoms of tooth decay are, and how dentists prefer to treat it.
The Causes of Tooth Decay
Harmful bacteria in the mouth plays a big role in tooth decay. When certain bacterias combine with food, a sticky film called plaque forms on the surface of the teeth. The harmful acids from the plaque begin to damage the enamel of the teeth. If not treated the plaque can harden into tartar. This is not good because it not only hurts the surface of the teeth, but can go onto to cause gum disease. When you brush with toothpaste that has fluoride, the enamel starts to heal itself by replacing minerals. But, the teeth go through a process of losing and replacing minerals all day long. If one does not practice good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing twice daily, the tooth enamel will continue to lose minerals. Also, everytime a person eats or drinks starchy or sugary things tooth decay can occur. By having good oral hygiene habits and by cutting back on starch and sugar one can avoid cavities brought on by tooth decay. Cavities suggest that the damage is permanent and will need to be fixed by a dentist.
Symptoms of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay in its early stages usually doesn’t have any symptoms, this is why good oral hygiene and regular dentist visits are key to stay on top of it. But, as tooth decay worsens, it can cause a person to have a plethora of symptoms. Be on the lookout for tooth sensitivity to hot, cold and sweets. A toothache or tooth pain is another common symptom of tooth decay. Tooth decay can cause white or brown spots or stains to occur on the surface of the tooth, and it can also cause cavities. Finally, tooth decay can lead to an infection or abscess in the tooth that causes pain, facial swelling and fever. Please contact your dentist ASAP if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Treatments For Tooth Decay
Your dentist can help treat tooth decay, and there are several treatments to select from, based on the severity of the problem. If the tooth decay is just starting, the dentist will more than likely treat it with a fluoride treatment. If there are cavities present, they will have to be filled. A root canal is likely if the damage has led to an infection. Your dentist will extract the infection and clean the inside of the tooth and root. Finally, in severe cases, an extraction may be required. The tooth will be pulled and replaced with a bridge or implant.