Damage to the enamel, the outermost layer of the tooth, is referred to as tooth decay. It occurs when a build up of plaque and tartar forms. The tooth becomes prone to acid attacks, leading to erosion and decay.
It can lead to infection, pain, and tooth loss if tooth decay isn’t treated.
It starts with the formation of dental plaque, a colorless bacteria-laden film, on the tooth surface which hardens into tartar if not removed.
Tartar is stubborn and can only be removed at the dental office. While it clings on the tooth, it protects the bacteria.
When the enamel is exposed to harmful acids and loses more minerals than it can replenish, white spots begin to show on the teeth. In time these white sports can turn into cavities.
Under the enamel is the dentin, which is softer and more vulnerable to damage. If the enamel wears, bacteria can reach the dentin and expedite decay. You may experience heightened sensitivity when you eat or drink anything very hot or cold.
The damage can reach the pulp or the innermost layer of the tooth if untreated. The pulp becomes irritated and swollen, and the pressure can cause pain. Abscess or pus can develop and the pain can travel to other areas like your jaw and neck.
The mouth is naturally filled with good and bad bacteria. Harmful bacteria contribute to tooth decay. Here are some risk factors for developing tooth decay:
Here are some signs that can indicate tooth decay:
Your dentist and dental hygienist can diagnose tooth decay and recommend a treatment plan to keep it from worsening. They may also request a dental X-ray, especially for advanced cases.
The earlier the decay is detected and removed, the more likely you will avoid the need for future complex dental treatments.
Plaque naturally occurs on teeth but you can prevent it from causing tooth decay. You can keep your oral health in good condition and your dental costs low with routine dental checkups and cleanings.
Contact our dental team today at (587) 803-4406 to learn more about tooth decay prevention. We’re happy to help you with your dental-related inquiries and assist you in booking an appointment with the dentist.
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