What Happens With Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay ruins the cementum and hard enamel of teeth, revealing the nerves which lead to sensitive teeth and painful toothaches. A dentist can repair tooth decay so don't delay in scheduling a dental appointment for treatment.

Tooth decay usually happens slowly throughout months or years and can sneak up.

Think for a moment about what that means. Yes! Possible cavities or additional treatments.

But let's go over how the decay starts!

Decay develops when bacteria in the mouth increase, mostly during the first 20 to 30 minutes after eating. The bacteria create acids which break down the hard mineral layers of the tooth. A hole known as a cavity then forms causing damage that the tooth cannot repair. A tooth has three layers: an outer layer called the enamel, a middle layer known as dentin, and then the center of the tooth, called the pulp. The middle layer is known as dentin and the center of the tooth is called the pulp. Knowing this, of course, the more layers that are affected by decay, the worse damage to the tooth.

When tooth decay is moderate, the area of decay is not a big area and has not penetrated the surface of the tooth. At times the decay can become less and even stopped with improved hygiene care, like having the dentist apply fluoride to the teeth. If a tooth decay gets worse, a cavity then forms. A filling is then needed to stop the decay and prevent further damage. This is important to catch early. Unfortunately, if the decay spreads to the pulp the tooth will die, because the pulp houses the nerves and blood vessels to the tooth. After a decayed tooth dies, further complications could arise; for example, an abscess might form in the bone at the end of the root.

Types of cavities are:

  • Pit and fissure cavities form deep in the pits and grooves in the chewing and biting surfaces of the teeth in the back.
  • Smooth-surface cavities form on the sides of teeth and between the teeth.
  • Root cavities develop on the root and extend below the gum line. Root decay is not as common as decay in various parts of the tooth., but root decay is more likely to damage the tooth pulp.
  • Secondary cavities, which form where a cavity already exists.
  • Untreated tooth decay creates severe problems and can lead to gum disease.
  • The saliva helps prevent tooth decay. Chewing sugarless gum is a fun way to keep bacteria away. It reduces acid damage to a tooth by washing away sticky, sugary foods that feed bacteria. The minerals in saliva also can help repair the tooth.

    Is tooth decay common?

    Tooth decay is common in all age groups. Studies state that tooth decay can be a long-lasting childhood disease. It can be more common than other heath issues and practicing good oral health starts as a child. It is becoming common for adults to have one or more missing teeth. A missing tooth can create other structural damage, and cosmetic dentistry treatment would more than likely occur. Seniors may even struggle with more decay due to the amount of time the decay is present.

    If a toothache develops, contact the dentist for an appointment and evaluation. 

    Request an appointment in our Santa Clara dentist office here: https://yousmiledental.com.

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