Tooth decay is the menace that destroys the structure of your infected tooth permanently, resulting in expensive and painful dental surgeries and a lifetime of toothache. It is also referred to as tooth cavity or dental caries.
The main reasons for tooth decay are your diet and inadequate care of your teeth. If you consume a diet that is rich in sugars, such as honey, some fruits and jams, you are destroying your teeth since sugar is their biggest and worst enemy. This is why kids who go crazy on chocolates and sweets get their teeth rotten early.
When you consume a meal, bits and pieces of the food stick to your teeth and accumulate in the spaces between them. Most people stick to the ritual of brushing their teeth before breakfast in the morning. However, they are unaware that they need to brush after the meal to remove the debris sticking to their teeth. If not removed, the sugars in the food will be converted to acids by the bacteria in the mouth.The acids then attack the tooth structure, causing it to break down and infect the neighboring teeth as well.
If you’re suspecting that your teeth are decaying, you need to be on the lookout for the following stages of tooth decay.
1. Appearance of Yellow stains
Your teeth start losing calcium, something indicated by yellow spots or off-white stains on the surface of the teeth. On the first sign of such a spot or stain, it is best to consult a dentist and get the required treatment. Fluoride can rescue the tooth before the decay progresses to the next stage.
2. Breakdown of the Enamel
The enamel happens to be the strongest tissue in your teeth, but it can be eroded by tooth decay. Imagine if the strongest part of your teeth can be eroded by decay, how easy it will be for the whole structure to collapse. In this stage, the infected tooth has to be cleaned and then filled by a professional dentist.
3. Dentin Decay
After the enamel, the dentin is the next affected part of the tooth. Even at this stage, the damage can be repaired by a simple filling that will restore the tooth to its original shape. The level of pain you experience also increases considerably at this stage. If the problem is diagnosed at this level, there is a good chance it can be taken care of easily.
4. Infection in the Pulp
At the fourth stage, the pulp of the tooth is affected by the decay. An infection sets in because of the bacteria present in the tooth. Now there are different symptoms that indicate this stage, such as nerves and blood vessels dying and pus forming. Here, the only treatment effective to eradicate the problem is root canal therapy. Needless to say, the pain also intensifies and almost becomes unbearable.
5. Formation of Abscess
The final stage in tooth decay is the formation of abscess. This occurs because the infection has spread to the topmost part of the tooth. As a result, the bones around the teeth are also plagued by the infection. All of this results in excruciating pain. You might also experience swelling on the cheeks on the affected side. The tooth will have to be removed or root canal therapy will be performed by the dentist. You will also need to take painkillers to control the pain and antibiotics to stop the infection from spreading further.
With each stage, it becomes difficult for you to bear the pain. Therefore, it is important that the tooth decay is identified and treated at an early stage. For this, it is imperative that you have regular dental checkups. Contact Dr TJ Bolt to schedule an appointment or learn more about teeth decay treatment and prevention along with other dental information at Bolt DDS.
Read also: Remedies for Tooth Decay