Posted by Dr. Christine Y. Lee on Sep 5 2018, 03:30 AM
It could be disheartening to hear, that after all your attempts to stop tooth decay, the dentist discovered a small cavity or more. It is easy to postpone seeing a dentist about tooth decay if you are not suffering any aches and pain yet. However, this could spell disaster. Tooth decay does not get better by itself, and over time, what was a minor issue could worsen significantly.
Tooth Decay can go for long without detection. It often happens when plaque of bacteria develops on your teeth and combines with the sugar from your foods to make acids. These acids gradually soften and melt the hard enamel casing your teeth. If neglected, the decay will drill through every layer of your tooth.
Until the decay goes deep down from the enamel to the dentin, you will probably not feel any ache or sensitivity. The dentin contains small nerve endings that can be easily inflamed and cause sensitivity when you consume cold, hot, sticky, sweet, and sour foods. You may also feel pain when biting, and food debris will be trapped easily between your teeth.
The decay quickly spreads rapidly through dentin because it is not as hard as the enamel. Root decay will also follow and happen fast because the cementum layer on the root is soft. The longer you leave tooth untreated, the worse it becomes.
The ache from tooth decay can be severe and make your routine uncomfortable. Infection often sets in when the decay gets to the pulp section of your tooth.
After examination, if the dentist discovers a little portion of erosion on your enamel when the dentin is not affected, you may be advised on which approach to take to restore that area. Such recommendations may include the use of toothpaste, mouthwashes, or filling materials containing calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. This would help stall the development of decay or cavities.
Once the decay gets to the dentin, there’s no way to reverse it. The dentist will attempt to fix the cavity using tooth-colored resin substance or amalgam filling (made of silver and other metals). If the structure of the tooth has severely degraded, the dentist may suggest dental crowns. Crowns will strengthen, shape, and restore the normal functions of your teeth. However, they are more expensive than standard filling.
In more severe cases like an abscessed tooth, your treatment choices are limited. You can either choose a root canal treatment or tooth removal, although this is usually the final choice if there is no other method to repair the tooth. If you need a root canal, the dentist cut out the affected pulp, clean, and cover the pulp chamber. Root canal treatment reduces the strength of your teeth.
It is evident that the longer you procrastinate on dental treatment, the more complicated and expensive the treatment becomes, and more pain too. You should visit the dentist immediately you notice discomfort in your tooth. You can prevent tooth decay through excellent oral hygiene. Regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist help.
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