Tooth decay is a serious dental emergency and you need to visit your dental care professional as soon as you get the telltale symptoms of tooth decay. It happens most commonly on back molars which face the most chewing force. Food particles can often get stuck in the recesses and grooves of the chewing surface. The best way to avoid tooth decay is to ensure that you maintain proper oral hygiene. Quitting some habits like smoking can also help keep your teeth in good condition.
Tooth Decay: Causes and symptoms
Tooth decay happens from cavities and they form from bacterial deposits. The food particles that get stuck in the teeth attract bacteria and the residual deposits will form a sticky colorless plaque. This is easy to get rid of with regular brushing and flossing. However, if left untreated, it turns into tartar which is harder to clean conventionally and requires the expert hands of a dental care professional.
Plaque and tartar wears down the enamel over time and this happens from the surface down. Once the deposits break down the enamel, it can infect the sensitive pulp chamber below and cause considerable pain. This chamber also houses the nerves so the pain is quite intense and your only mode of recovery from this point on is to get root canal therapy done by a professional dentist. The basic symptoms of tooth decay include intense toothache, persistent bad breath and possible cavities.
Avoiding Tooth Decay
Once the deposits have reached the pulp chamber, it is possible that the bacterial infestation has reached the more sensitive root of the tooth. In this stage, the dentist will need to perform root canal therapy and use fillings to fix the condition and hopefully prevent decay. This is most effective if the tooth has not entirely been decayed and can still be fixed with basic cavity treatment.
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The dentist drills right through your cavity to the roots and cleans out the plaque and other bacterial deposits. The next step is to close the cavity using specially made fillings. These will ensure that the tooth is protected from further deposits. You will be advised on how to take care of your filled tooth. Proper hygiene is the best defense against most dental problems.
This will, however, render your tooth mostly dead as the pulp chamber is no longer naturally filled. If your tooth has decayed beyond repair via root canal therapy, you need to have it extracted and replaced with either implants or dentures or bridges, depending on which is best suited to your condition.
Proper hygiene is the best defense
There are some mouthwashes and toothpastes that can cause decay in your teeth. These should be avoided at all costs and always go for products that have been prescribed by your dentist. If you indulge in habits like smoking and drinking, you can try to minimize it as they contain elements that are harmful for your teeth. In case you face these symptoms, consider it a dental emergency and visit your dentist immediately before it spreads to the other teeth.
Avoiding tooth decay requires you to follow good oral hygiene. Sugary foods are a tooth’s greatest enemy and this is why children run the risk of developing cavities the most. A good diet, regular brushing and flossing, and frequent checkups with your dental care professional are sound ways to ensure that your dental health stays in good condition.
Refer to the following infographic on fighting tooth decay and preventive care