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Addressing the Severity of Tooth Decay

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Addressing the Severity of
Tooth Decay

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What is Tooth Decay?

The lack of proper oral care and frequent checkups can lead to tooth decay, which is damage that eventually happens if things are left untreated. It occurs when you neglect the fact that plaque is always forming on your teeth.

Plaque is a sticky substance, full of bacteria that feeds on sugars that you consume. It is acidic by nature and can destroy the outer layer of your teeth, the enamel, if you do not wash your teeth relatively frequently.

The damage caused by plaque can get through the enamel, the toughest part of your teeth, and get to the middle layer, the dentin. Dentin has a lot of nerve endings, and once it gets damaged, you will feel pain when it is exposed to sweet, cold, hot, sticky and sour food. This is called a cavity.

There are different treatments for different steps of the infection, and you should know about them:

The Severity of Damage and the Treatments

Whether your enamel has been compromised, or your dentin or pulp, you should know that each and every step is treatable, except the most severe ones, where tooth extraction would be the only option, to save the gum and the surrounding teeth.

The enamel:

The selection of treatment depends on the severity of the enamel damage. If it has yet to break through the enamel, you might even get through with just a fluoride toothpaste or fluoride treatments. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens the enamel.

If the damage is more severe, and has broken through the enamel, you will probably need a filling. A material is used to fill the hole that formed, thusly restoring the tooth to its original state, or as close to it as possible.

The dentin:

In this case, depending on the level of damage, you will most likely need a crown. A crown, sometimes called a cap, is made out of different materials, and serves the purpose of replacing the missing parts of a tooth. It is also used in other cases, when the tooth is chipped from physical trauma. It is worth knowing that severe damage causes the need for crowns, so you should really take action before that.

The pulp:

Once your pulp gets damaged, since it is full of nerves and blood vessels, you will in most cases get an infection. That can lead to trouble really fast, and depending on the severity of the infection, you might even need to get your tooth extracted, or even more, if it infects the gums, and spreads to the surrounding teeth.

Prevent It, You Won’t Regret It

Most of the damage caused to the teeth by decay can be prevented by frequent brushing and flossing. Taking care of the bacteria that feeds on sugary food should be a daily activity. Visiting your dentist on time will also prevent the need for any invasive procedure and will definitely make your time spent there as pleasant as a chat in the park.