Tooth Decay Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Tooth decay or dental cavity/caries is a very common problem which affects people all over the world. This disorder is widely spread and it usually happens because of bad oral habits. In fact tooth decay is caused by tooth demineralization induced by acid producing bacteria. Dental cavity starts on the outer tooth surface and then makes its way to deep layers.
All in all, dental cavity does not occur suddenly. It happens because of poor oral habits. As a matter of fact bad oral hygiene can trigger plaque formation which stimulates the formation of caries. Lactobacillus and Streptococcus Mutans are bacteria which cause tooth decay.
These organisms produce the acids which start the process of dental cavity. The main cause of tooth decay is bad oral hygiene. Improper brushing or not brushing at all, not rinsing the mouth after meals, smoking, excessive consumption of sugar are all contributing factors to the development of caries.
There are no signs of tooth decay until it has developed extensively. If you notice a white spot on the tooth, this might be a sign of enamel dissolution. With the progression of tooth decay, white chalky spots generally become brown. Demineralization makes the area soft. When caries has reached deeper layers it causes pain because of the nerves get affected.
The best method to prevent tooth decay is to stick to a proper oral hygiene. This will help to prevent the spread of bacteria.
To maintain a proper oral hygiene you just need to follow basic principles of oral hygiene like brushing teeth at least two times every day. It is necessary to floss your teeth several times a week. And the golden rule is to visit the dentist once in three or four months.
If the dentist sees that a patient may develop dental cavity, there are certain measures he can offer for prevention:
- Apply Stannous Fluoride on the affected tooth surface. It will strengthen the enamel by forming fluoropatite.
- Fissure Sealants can be applied on the molars chewing surfaces. This method is helpful for preventing plaque formation.
Tooth decay treatments
It is important to identify whether some habits may be causing tooth decay so that to prevent any potential occurrences of caries.
Fillings: The decayed structure of tooth cannot recover and should be replaced by special restorative material. The treatment is usually called restoration or filling. The dentist removes the part of tooth that is decayed and fills it with appropriate restorative material like composite or amalgam.