- August 12, 2016
Caries. Cavities. Tooth Decay.
These dental terms refer to the same problem. They are small, but they can lead to much bigger problems if you do not address them as soon as you can.
Today, we will be taking you through the stages of how tooth decay progresses and causes bigger problems for your oral health.
In the United States, more than 90 percent of adults will have at least one cavity during their lives.
Our team at The Dentist House wants to help you fix that problem quickly and effectively. If you live or near Ridgecrest, CA, please know that we want to help before it’s too late.
Step One: A Healthy Mouth
A healthy mouth is our wish for each and every one of our patients. The thing is the ingredients for your mouth to become unhealthy are always present.
Bacteria live inside your mouth, and some of them will cause tooth decay is given the opportunity. Daily brushing and flossing will remove a lot of these bacteria, but you will never remove all the bacteria. And tomorrow, they will start growing again.
It’s a never-ending fight, but it’s one that is worth the effort.
Solution: Keep brushing and flossing, and keep your regular appointments for dental cleanings and examinations.
Step Two: A Cavity Forms
You may already be aware that bacteria uses the sugars in the foods that we eat. Bacteria will try to form plaque, a sticky film that clings to your teeth.
In a way, this also can serve as a staging area for bacteria to launch attacks on your enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance on the human body, which is why it’s great for biting and chewing food, but that isn’t going to stop microscopic bacteria from eating into it.
As the bacteria eats into the enamel, a small hole is created. This is a cavity. It may start to turn darker than the rest of your tooth.
Solution: Once you realize something is happening, you should contact our office to make an appointment. In the early stages, we can restore your tooth with a simple dental filling. We will remove the decay, and then use our tooth-colored composite filling material to rebuild that part of your tooth.
Step Three: The Cavity Grows
If you are unaware of your tooth decay (or maybe a little too stubborn to call our office), then the cavity will continue to grow.
As you might expect, a larger cavity will affect a bigger part of your tooth. If the cavity gets big enough, then a filling is not going to be enough to fix it.
Solution: All is not lost at this point. You can still remove the decay and restore your tooth. In this situation, the tooth will be reshaped into an abutment. This abutment will support a dental crown, which is a replacement for the natural crown of your damaged tooth.
Step Four: Your Tooth Is Infected
As the cavity eats through your enamel and through the softer layer dentin, it may reach the pulp chamber at the center of your tooth.
Here you will find a soft connective tissue (pulp) as well as blood vessels and nerves. Bacteria can cause pulp to become infected and inflamed. This can lead to a variety of pains — lingering pains, sharp pains when you bite or chew with that tooth, or stinging pains from eating or drinking things that are hot, cold, or sweet.
Solution: At this point, you are beyond a cavity so a filling or dental crown is not going to be enough to fix this problem. Instead, you will need a root canal treatment to remove the infection and then to restore your tooth.
Step Five: Your Tooth Cannot Be Saved
Maybe you have an extremely high pain threshold or maybe you don’t mind the dark tooth in your mouth. Either way, a root canal treatment won’t be enough to save your tooth if you wait too long.
And infected tooth could cause your tooth to fall out and that could allow the infection to spread to other parts of your mouth.
Solution: If even a root canal treatment won’t fix your tooth, then it may need to be extracted in order to protect the rest of your teeth. We also would recommend replacing the tooth with a dental implant and dental crown to restore your smile.
Act Early For Your Mouth’s Sake
The Dentist House in Ridgecrest, CA, would rather see you during the early stages of tooth decay than when it’s too late to do anything to save your tooth.