Tooth decay, often known as tooth decay, is damage to a tooth that can occur when enamel-eating bacteria in your mouth produce acids that attack the tooth’s surface.
This may result in a cavity, or small hole, in the tooth. Dental decay can result in discomfort, infection, and even tooth loss without treatment.
Once a person has teeth, they can develop dental decay at any age, from young children to elderly people. Early childhood caries, often known as baby bottle tooth decay, is a severe tooth decay condition that Sensitivity to a child’s baby teeth.
The exposed root surfaces of their teeth can develop decay in older persons due to receding gums, which allow oral bacteria that cause decay to come into contact with the tooth’s root.
Symptoms of Tooth Decay
Depending on the size and location of the cavity, there are different signs and symptoms. You might not have any symptoms while a cavity is just starting.
A toothache, spontaneous discomfort, or pain that appears to have no apparent reason are just a few indications and symptoms that the decay may produce as it progresses.
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth
- Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
- Pain when you bite down
Different Stages of Tooth Decay
1st Stage: Chalky White Spots
Small white patches on the surface of your dental enamel are the first signs of early tooth decay. The accumulation of plaque and calcium loss is to blame for this. When it comes to tooth decay, plaque is the main culprit.
The bacteria in plaque start feeding on the sugars in your food as soon as you consume them. These bacteria release acids onto the enamel’s surface after digesting these carbohydrates.
To the best of its ability, your body will use its natural defenses during a process known as remineralization to shield your teeth from these acids. Your mouth will try to replace the minerals in your teeth that are being destroyed by the acids using either your saliva or the fluoride in your water.
If this procedure does not work, we move on to the second stage of decay.
2nd Stage: Decay of the Dental Enamel
Your tooth enamel may deteriorate if the acids released onto your teeth are not adequately wiped away. This can happen when your teeth are repeatedly subjected to “acid attacks,” and your body cannot remineralize them rapidly enough.
A lesion will develop inside the tooth after your dental enamel deteriorates, and your body cannot replace the minerals. Since the dental enamel has no nerves, lesions cause a cavity or hole in your tooth but are not painful.
However, your dentist needs to treat a lesion in the enamel immediately before it becomes a cavity. Your dentist can use fluoride treatments or dental sealants to shield your tooth from additional harm.
3rd Stage: Decay of the Dentin
Dental enamel will continue to erode until it reaches the dentin if the lesion in your tooth is not addressed. The dentin layer protects the pulp, buried beneath the dental enamel. It contains many tiny tubules that give access to the tooth’s inner nerve.
Once the decay has reached the dentin layer, you will feel pain and hypersensitivity since the nerve is exposed to external stimuli. Your dental enamel is now collapsing and developing a cavity as a result of the mineral loss.
At this point, you need restorative care from your dentist to prevent dental decay from getting worse and affecting the pulp of your teeth.
4th Stage: Decay Reaches the Pulp
A material called “pulp” is in the middle of each tooth. All of your tooth’s blood vessels and nerve endings are found here. Consequently, you can feel severe discomfort if your dental decay has affected this tooth’s root.
The only method to save your natural tooth at this point in the deterioration process is to have a root canal performed. Your dentist will perform this operation to remove the infected pulp from the tooth.
5th Stage: Abscess
An abscess may develop if dental decay spreads beyond the pulp. An infection of the tooth’s root is called an abscess, which can be extremely painful. This is very serious because it may harm your jawbone and nearby tissues.
If you have an abscess, you should see your dentist immediately because surgery is almost certainly necessary at this stage of dental deterioration.
It’s crucial to see your dentist right away if you’re noticing signs of dental deterioration.
Treatment for Tooth Decay
The severity of your cavities and your unique situation will determine how they should be treated.
Options for treatment include:
A fluoride treatment may help restore the enamel on your tooth if your cavity has just started, and it occasionally works to stop a cavity in its earliest stages.
When decay has advanced past the initial stage, fillings sometimes referred to as restorations, are the primary treatment choice.
You might require a crown, a specially fitted covering that swaps out the complete natural crown of your tooth if your teeth are badly decayed or weak.