Signs of Tooth Decay
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay begins when a small hole, referred to as a cavity, forms in tooth tissue. Cavities can affect anyone from young children to seniors. If cavities are left untreated, they can develop into more serious tooth decay which is hallmarked by infection and pain at the site of the cavity. Tooth decay is usually treated easily, however, if left untreated, can result in infections elsewhere in the body and, in exceedingly rare cases, fatality.
How Can Tooth Decay Develop?
Tooth decay develops in several stages. Firstly, when it has been allowed to develop, the acidic nature of plaque corrodes the enamel of the teeth. Repeated acid attacks wear the enamel away; usually near the gum line. Left untreated, this corroded enamel becomes a cavity. If the cavity is not treated, the corrosion can continue to attack the tooth tissue until decay is entrenched deeply. The results of this include a toothache or abscess.
Signs of Tooth Decay
When plaque starts to eat away enamel, this is noticeable by the presence of a white spot on the tooth. As mentioned, the longer the site of decay is left untreated, the worse the symptoms will become. Dental patients suffering from tooth decay may not realise they have the problem until they experience:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Grey, brown or black spots sitting on the teeth
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
How is Tooth Decay Usually Treated?
Restorative dental work, sometimes referred to as fillings are necessary when tooth decay has set in and damaged the tooth pulp tissue. The dentist will extract the rotting tooth material and then fill the remaining hole with resins, porcelain or amalgam until it looks natural and unnoticeable.
The Risks of Untreated Tooth Decay
Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Untreated cavities can lead to abscess (a severe infection) under the gums which can spread to other parts of the body and have serious, and in rare cases fatal, results.
I Think I Have Tooth Decay, What do I do?
If you have experienced any of the signs of tooth decay listed above, then it is assuredly worth scheduling a dental appointment with your local dentist. Tooth decay treatment is relatively painless and performed quickly by a trained dental professional. The dentist will recommend care after the filling procedure has finished, including: twice-daily brushing, flossing, staying away from sugary foods and smoking.
Book an Appointment at Big Smiles Dental Today
Treating tooth decay is absolutely essential for oral health. If you have any questions around what you think might be tooth decay, or if you are due for a check-up, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment at Big Smiles Dental today.