What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is an irreversible damage that affecting the hard structures of teeth resulting in hole or cavity in tooth. Tooth caries are the most common health problem in the world. Anyone who is having teeth can get caries including infants. If caries are not treated at early stages the deeper of tooth will be affected which will lead to severe tooth ache, infection and tooth loss.
In the initial stages of tooth decay we will not experience any sensitivity or tooth ache. Only an visible white, brown or black discolouration of tooth can be appreciated.
- Tooth sensitivity to sweets, cold and hot foods
- Mild to moderate pain depends on severity and extent of tooth decay
- Visible holes and food accumulation
- Pain on chewing
What causing tooth decay:
The reason for tooth decay is multifactorial.
- Improper tooth brushing, not doing night brushing
- Taking sticky foods frequently like chips, biscuits and candy’s
- More sugary intake
- Acidic salivary pH
- Prolonged bottle feeding for infants
- Genetic factors
Progression of dental caries:
Formation of white spot:
Loss of minerals like calcium from tooth because of continuous acid attack which are produced by bacterias lies in plaque in our mouth. White, chalky spots appears on enamel surface. It is an early stage of tooth decay in which the enamel can repair itself if proper brushing and oral hygiene is maintained.
Decay in enamel and dentin:
Spreading of tooth decay into deeper layers of enamel and dentin causes tooth sensitivity. You will start to feel sensitivity while taking sweets, cold and hot foods. The lost minerals like calcium and phosphate cannot be remineralised itself in this stage. It will leads to the formation of hole or cavity in the tooth. Cavity is an irreversible process that a dentist has to repair with a filling.
If decay in enamel and dentin is left untreated it spreads into living tissue of tooth called pulp which contains bloods vessles and nerves. When the decay reaches the pulp you will start to have pain which is sharp, dull, continuous or intermittent depends upon extent and severity of decay. A normal tooth filling cannot be done in this situation. If remaining tooth structure in sufficient Root canal treatment and crown can be done to save and extent the life of tooth.
Abscess and swelling in gums – Tooth loss:
Spreading of infection from root end into adjacent bone and supporting tissues causes swollen gums and pus discharge from gums. Root canal treatment can be done if the infection is minimal, but there is no possible prognosis. If the infection is more the tooth will start to shake and to be extracted to avoid spreading of infection to adjacent healthy tooth.