Tooth Decay - Causes, Symptoms And Treatments
What is tooth decay? - Tooth decay is also known as cavity or dental caries. This occurs when bacteria make acids in the mouth. If not treated properly this may lead to pain, infection and even tooth loss.
Causes: - There are two main contributors to tooth cavity, one is bacteria and other is a diet that is high in sugar and starch. When bacteria combines with food and saliva a sticky substance called plaque is formed. This plaque attaches to teeth and bacteria feeds on the food you eat and make acids. This acid destroys the tooth surface which results in decay.
Symptoms: usually there are no such symptoms of tooth decay. If you have a cavity or infected teeth you might develop sensitivity to foods that are cold, hot, or sweet. Not all cavities will result in tooth ache and they may only be detected by the dentist. If the cavities develop in front teeth, you may see a dark or light brown spot but if they develop in between the teeth, it may only be visible on an X-ray. The dentists diagnose tooth decay by examining your teeth, asking about your past medical history and taking x-rays of teeth and mouth.
Risk factors contributing to tooth decay
There are certain factors that contribute to tooth decay. Dry mouth may leave the teeth more exposed to tooth decay as saliva helps prevent plaque and helps wash away and digest food particle. Other factors are genetic like tooth size and shape, thickness of enamel, tooth position, sequence and the bite.
What is the treatment for cavities?
The treatments of cavities depend on how bad the condition is. There are three things that need consideration one is prevention then remineralization, and lastly restoration.
Prevention- Like it’s always been said prevention is better than cure. Preventive dentistry helps in reducing the incidence of premature tooth loss. The bacteria that are in the mouth cannot be removed. But if proper care is taken in terms of limiting the amount and frequency of sugars and starches in the diet, the dental caries can be prevented.
Remineralization- This is a process in which minerals are returned to the molecular structure of the tooth. Low cavities when treated with substance containing fluoride or calcium can reverse the cavities.
Restoration- If a cavity cannot be remineralized, it is generally restored. Restoration is done through a filling made of composite or silver amalgam. When a large part of the tooth is decayed it has to be covered in crown. Crowns are made of gold, porcelain, or zirconium. When the cavity is extended to the center of the tooth then the procedure of root canal is performed. Sometimes it happens that the cavity may infect a majority of tooth surface, in that case tooth has to be extracted.
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Page Updated Last on: May 16, 2014