Beyond the Surface: Delving into Tooth Decay

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Are you suffering from excruciating tooth pain? Does eating or drinking anything cold or hot cause discomfort? You must be suffering from tooth decay! It can sound scary and may be a cause of distress many times. But worry not, when you have a Chehalis dentist, and their team at your service. They offer an array of treatments that best suit you to get rid of tooth decay and restore your oral health. 

Read on to explore tooth decay, stages, symptoms, and treatment options.

A comprehensive guide to tooth decay 

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, is defined as a destructive process of the tooth’s outer surface namely the enamel. 

Increased bacterial accumulation leads to the formation of plaque (soft sticky film covering the tooth surface) that produces harmful acids, toxins, and by-products. These toxins demineralize the tooth, forming tiny holes, pits, or cavities. If left untreated it can progressively involve the deeper layers of the teeth, namely the dentin and the pulp resulting in pain, swelling, pulpal infection, and tooth loss

Stages:

There are five stages of tooth decay, namely:

  • Stage 1: Initial demineralization
  • Stage 2:  Enamel decay
  • Stage 3: Dentin decay
  • Stage 4: Pulp damage
  • Stage 5: Abscess 

Symptoms:

Symptoms of tooth decay vary depending on the severity of the damage caused. Initial tooth decay exhibits no symptoms except surface discoloration and cavity. 

However, advanced tooth decay includes the following symptoms:

  • Constant tooth pain
  • Increased tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, and sugary foods
  • White or dark spots on the teeth 
  • Bad breath
  • Deep cavity
  • Difficulty chewing 
  • Halitosis (bad breath) 
  • Increased gingival swelling, redness, and bleeding.

Effective treatment options for tooth decay 

Treatment options include:

Fluoride Treatment

  • Fluoride helps in the remineralization of the enamel, which can halt tooth decay and prevent further damage. 

Dental Fillings

  • If you have a typical tooth cavity, a dental filling is an ideal option. 
  • The decayed tissue will be removed and the tooth will be restored using an appropriate filling material or cement.

Root Canal Therapy

  • Tooth decay that extends deeper into the pulp requires extensive procedures like root canal therapy.
  • The decayed tissue and the entire pulp will be removed and replaced with a biocompatible material like gutta-percha, finally sealing the tooth with an appropriate dental crown. 

Tooth extraction 

  • Severe tooth decay beyond repair will be extracted and replaced with suitable dentures, bridges, or dental implants. 

Tooth decay is a widespread condition that can vary in intensity as the infection spreads through different layers of the tooth. Detecting it at an early stage can save the tooth and restore your oral health. If you notice any obvious signs of tooth decay consult your dentist at the earliest. 

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