March 2nd, 2013
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth Decay is when a tooth has started to break down which causes cavities that can be quite painful if a nerve is left exposed.
As tooth decay progresses, it can lead to the death of the tooth, which will either require an extraction, root canal, or the tooth can even fall out by itself (will vary from case to case).
How is Tooth Decay Caused?
Your mouth is naturally full of bacteria already, that combined together with any leftover food particles and saliva, starts to build up a substance known as plaque on the surfaces of your teeth.
Whenever a person consumes a drink or eats food that is high in sugar or starch (carbohydrates), the bacteria found in plaque will use the energy from the carbohydrates and will produce acid that will break down the surfaces of your teeth.
Overtime, if this is left it can expose the nerves of the tooth which will cause toothache for the person.
What Are The Symptoms Of Tooth Decay?
One of the most common symptoms you could have is tooth ache but it may not always be down to tooth decay. If you are suffering from tooth ache we recommend that you come in for an emergency appointment so we can examine what is causing the pain and what treatment would be best for you.
Other symptoms may include:
- Discolourations spots on the surfaces of your teeth
- Sensitivity/pain during drinking or eating
- Regular bad breath
- Unusual bad taste in your mouth
- Your fillings may become loose
Please Note: There may be no tooth decay symptoms until you have a cavity, and regular dental health checks are recommended to ensure any potential problems are caught early on.
How To Treat Tooth Decay?
Treating tooth decay is a process of practicing a regular and healthy oral hygiene routine e.g. brushing twice a day and flossing etc. Prevention is often the best treatment as it will help maintain healthy teeth for longer.
Attending regular hygiene checks at your dentist or hygienist as they will be able to examine any build up of plaque and they can remove the excessive build up with their dental tools. As well as a general clean and polish, they will be able to identify how severe your tooth decay is (if it has gotten to that stage).
If your level of tooth decay has started to cause cavities, you may very well need to have fillings which will fill up the space created by the decay, as well as protect you from further decay and tooth ache.
In some severe case, the tooth decay will have been so extensive that the root of a tooth may of been badly affected, which could then kill the associated nerve. In cases like these, you may require a root canal (if the tooth can be saved).
In the worst case scenario, the tooth won’t be saveable and will have to be extracted. It is always preferable to try and save a tooth, as your natural teeth will always be the best to have!
If extractions are inevitable, there are such treatments that can provide you with a secure tooth replacement (dental implants) which will also promote healthy bone regeneration to the surrounding structure:
What To Do If You Think You Have Tooth Decay?
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or you are simply worried that you have tooth decay, please do not hesitate to arrange your appointment today for a check up.
The earlier a problem is caught it will be easier to treat and the chances of losing a tooth will be extremely reduced!