Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments: Dental Cavities and Tooth Decay
What Is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay, also known as cavities, is defined by the National Association of Dental Researchers as “greatly damaged structural tissue of the tooth” that usually causes “terrible pain, tooth loss and serious infections to form.” Tooth decay is a common dental condition that can affect anyone at any age.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
The bacteria found in plaque on teeth, along with sugar munching and acid attacks from food and drinks left on the teeth all day long are all culprits in the cause of tooth decay. The primary reason for this bacterial growth is plaque since it provides nutrients for the growth of bacteria through minerals found in saliva.
How Common Are Cavities?
Most people have experienced tooth decay at some point in their lives, and it has been estimated that around 90% of all adults living in the United States experience this dental condition, and a dentist can help with the right treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Decay?
The symptoms of tooth decay are:
- A breakdown in the tooth covering
- A change in the color of a tooth from white to yellow, brown, or black
- Pain when biting, chewing, or eating something hot or cold. The pain may be felt when the infected teeth are touched
- Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures that persist for a longer time period than normal
What Are the Treatments for Tooth Decay?
There are many ways to treat tooth decay. One possible solution is to seal cavities with compounds such as zinc oxide-eugenol cement and glass ionomer cement. These dental restorations are designed to repair decayed teeth by filling in damaged areas of pulp and dentin.
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What Are the Causes of Cavities?
Cavities can arise due to a variety of circumstances. Usually, these processes take place:
- Mouth bacteria consume starchy, sugary foods and beverages (fruit, candy, bread, cereal, sodas, juice, and milk). These carbohydrates are changed into acids by the bacteria.
- Plaque is formed when bacteria, acid, food, and saliva combine. The teeth are covered in this gooey material.
- Plaque acids dissolve tooth enamel if you don’t brush and floss properly, leading to cavities or holes in your teeth.
What Are The Types Of Cavities?
Root cavities, which develop on the outside of a tooth’s roots, are more prevalent in older people, especially seniors who are more likely to have gum conditions such as receding gums. When gums recede, the tissue covering the tooth is much lower on the tooth, exposing the root surfaces, and making them more vulnerable to erosive acids from the food, bacteria, and decay.
Cavities in Pits and Fissures
These cavities happen on the chewing surfaces of teeth and are frequently found on the back molars. Pit and fissure cavities are fairly common, especially for people who don’t brush as frequently as they should since plaque and food simply get lodged in the grooves and crevices on the tops of teeth. Sealants can occasionally be used to assist safeguard the teeth of children and adults who are more likely to get pit and fissure cavities.
Cavities with a Smooth Surface
Smooth-surface cavities damage the flat outside surface of teeth and are frequently found on teeth on the sides of the mouth. They are the least frequent and develop the slowest of all cavities. These cavities can be an issue for persons who don’t maintain adequate oral care even if they are less frequent.
What Can Be Done To Prevent Cavities And Tooth Decay?
Plaque and the acids that cause cavities can be eliminated by practicing good dental hygiene, which includes regular brushing and flossing. Good oral and gum health involves:
- Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, ideally right after each meal.
- Reducing consumption of starchy, sugary meals and beverages.
- Flossing every day to remove food and grime from between teeth.
- At least twice a year, have a dental exam.
- The upper chewing surfaces of teeth are protected by dental sealants.
When Should I Talk With A Dental Professional?
If you have any of the following symptoms of cavities, you should talk with your dentist:
- Pain or sensitivity in your mouth
- Change in the color of your teeth
- A bulging tooth
- Infection around a cavity that you can see through the tooth
- Tooth discoloration (brown, black, or white)
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FAQs on Cavities / Tooth Decay
What Causes Cavities And Tooth Decay?
Cavities, also known as tooth decay or caries, are brought on by a number of things, including oral bacteria, frequent eating, consuming sugary beverages, and inadequate tooth cleaning. One of the most prevalent health issues worldwide is dental decay, which includes cavities. Particularly prevalent among kids, teenagers, and elderly people. However, cavities can affect everyone who has teeth, even young children. If left untreated, cavities get larger and harm your teeth’s deeper layers. They may result in tooth loss, an infection, and excruciating dental pain. Your best defense against cavities and tooth decay is regular dental appointments and good brushing and flossing habits.
What are the symptoms Of Cavities And Tooth Decay?
There are many symptoms that can appear from cavities and tooth decay. This can include a breakdown in the tooth covering (erosion), a change in the color of the tooth from white to yellow, brown, or black (staining), and pain when biting, chewing, or sucking something hot or cold. The pain may be felt when the infected teeth are touched and extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures persist for a longer time period than normal.
What Are The Treatments For Tooth Decay?
There are many methods to treat cavities and tooth decay. One common treatment is by filling a cavity with a compound such as Zinc oxide-eugenol cement and glass ionomer cement. These are materials used for sealing decayed teeth by filling in the damaged areas of pulp and dentin inside them.
Common Places Where Decay Forms
According to the American Dental Association, cavities most commonly appear in the following areas: on smooth surfaces and in pits and fissures of back teeth.
What Are The Signs Of Cavities/Tooth Decay?
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, there are several signs or symptoms that may show when you have tooth decay. Two of the most common are pain and sensitivity to hot or cold substances.
Can I Prevent Cavities And Tooth Decay?
You can prevent cavities and tooth decay by maintaining a healthy diet and brushing twice a day using a regular toothbrush with soft bristles. You can also maintain proper oral hygiene by flossing daily, rinsing with water after eating, and making sure to keep your teeth clean.
For help with dental cavities, schedule your appointment with a Carstairs dentist and get the best help available.