What is tooth decay? Symptoms, prevention and treatment

Dental decay or Dental Caries is commonly known as tooth decay which is a very common problem among many people. Tooth decay can be prevented and treated very easily. Here we will try to understand some details about tooth decay, its symptoms and the treatment for the same.

Tooth decay is the common problem for all age group people. Initially the problem of tooth decay cannot be identified and the symptoms can be seen only when the problem increases. The one thing you can do to keep away the problem of tooth decay is regular dental check up. Because when the tooth decay is identified in the early stages, the treatment can be very easy. In the early stages the treatment can be as simple as fluoride varnish and filling or crowns are needed if the decay problem is increased.

What is called as dental decay or tooth decay?

The bacteria in our mouth lead to formation of sticky material on our teeth called as plaque. Plaque is found on the outer as well as inner surface of teeth if the teeth are not cleaned properly. The food items which are loaded with carbohydrates and sugar can cause plaque bacteria easily. Plaque bacteria produce plaque acid that can reduce the enamel surface of our teeth. It can also damage dentine underside and cause cavity. Dentine is the inner formation of the tooth. If the cavity reaches the dentine, it can cause tooth sensitivity. If the proper treatment is not taken at this stage, then the cavity can reach the Pulp, the soft centre portion of the tooth. In this stage you get the tooth infection which can cause excessive pain. Generally Root Canal treatment is given to treat the problem. In few cases when it is not possible to save the tooth with root canal treatment, the dentists pull out the tooth entirely. Plaque and cavity are normally seen on the biting surfaces and the hidden surfaces between the teeth as the food we eat get stuck in these places.

What are the signs and early symptoms of tooth decay?

In many cases the symptoms of cavity cannot be seen in the early stages. But if you are a regular visitor of a dentist then it can be identified soon. It can be spotted during dental check up or in the x ray of the tooth. If the tooth decay is not treated in initial stage then it can lead to cavity. If you feel that your tooth is getting sensitive then don't ignore the problem. If you feel sensitivity while consuming cold or hot food then contact your dentist immediately. Another sign you can mark is black or brown spots on the tooth. Also bad breath or distasteful feeling in the mouth can be the formation of plaque or tooth decay. If these early signs are not marked or ignored then the decay can reach up to dental pulp and you will start getting extreme pain and discomfort. Therefore it is advisable to visit your dentist immediately if you feel any oral discomfort.

What is the treatment for tooth decay?

The treatment of tooth decay is easy in early stages and depends upon severity of the problem. Following are the treatments given for tooth decay and cavity problem.

Fluoride Varnish: In the very initial stage of tooth decay, fluoride varnish is applied on the tooth to prevent advance tooth decay and to rebuild the enamel surface of the tooth. Fluoride varnish is the very first treatment given to clean the plaque and prevent the tooth decay.

Fillings: If the decay reaches the inner level then your dentist prefers to do this treatment. Local anesthesia is given to follow this treatment. Under this treatment a tiny drill is used to remove the decayed part of the tooth. If the exposed nerves are found during the treatment, the liner is used to cover the tooth and the nerves. Metal alloy called Amalgam or a tooth colored material called composite is used for filling. Filling is a long lasting treatment if proper care is taken as per the instructions.

Inlays and onlays: Filling is done for small cavities but if the cavity is too big to be filled then inlay or onlay treatment is given to save the tooth. By using local anesthesia, the tooth impression is taken. This impression is taken to prepare inlay or onlay which will fit the cavity perfectly. With the help of this impression inlay or onlay will be structured in the dental laboratory and will be fixed on your decayed tooth by your dentist. Normally the inlay or onlay is made with gold or porcelain.

Crowns: If the tooth is extremely damaged or decayed Dental Crowns are used to cover and protect it completely. The mould of the decayed tooth is taken and perfectly fit dental crown is made. The treatment is very much similar to inlay or onlay treatment.

Root canal: When the tooth decay reaches the dental pulp and the infection starts, it can affect nerves negatively. In this stage root canal treatment is needed. During this treatment the hole is drilled in the crown of the tooth and the entire area is cleaned by removing infected pulp from it. This canal is then filled and sealed with regular filling.

Removing tooth: When no treatment is useful for the cavity and there is no chance of saving a tooth, then it is need to be removed. Local anesthesia is given with the injection in the gums and the tooth is removed from the socket carefully. The removed tooth can be substituted with denture, bridge or implantation.

Tooth decay prevention

Maintaining good oral hygiene can keep the dental problems away. Healthy gums and teeth can be gained with some easy tips and precautions. Brushing teeth twice a day is very important habit. Along with it using dental floss to remove the food particles between the teeth, avoiding excessive sugar intake, smoking or alcohol can also keep you safe from dental problems. The minerals in the saliva can rebuild the enamel on your teeth therefore to increase the production of the saliva chew sugar free gum. Regularly visit your dentist for dental check up to know about dental problems in the initial stage only. If you can see the plaque formation on your teeth then immediately get it removed by your dentist to avoid the further problems. Also the area under the gum line is needed to be cleaned.

Visit your dentist and get their advice on oral hygiene. Prevention is better than cure, teach your family members by explaining the importance of dental hygiene and gum care.

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Author: Venkiteswaran26 Jan 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

The least one visited in our days was a dentist. It is so ironic that toothache was a very common problem then. But that was subdued and managed by using clove oil, pressing clove between upper and lower teeth,gargling with salt water etc.

However by creating awareness, nowadays I see people visiting dentists not just for cure, but also for preventive check up and cleaning.

Apart from the problems directly affecting teeth, health issues like diabetes also enhance tooth decay. Hence those have such risk factors should also consult a dentist and take proper precautions and remedies.

Author: Swati Sarnobat26 Apr 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

Useful article because tooth decay is considered as the most common problem in this world. Simple tips can be followed to prevent tooth decay such as avoiding excessive sugar or chewing chocolates excessively, regularly brushing teeth and also the behind portion of the teeth. A person should regularly brush twice a day and do gargling after eating solid food so that the food particles do not gather. Consume enough food that consists of calcium to prevent tooth decay.

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