This is a common oral health problem. In some cases, it can be reversed, while in others, it can be controlled for preventing further damage. Here are a few frequently asked questions about dental decay:

What causes dental decay?

The major cause of dental decay is bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for creating plaque on teeth. It happens to everyone.

However, when we do not have a healthy dental hygiene routine and the plaque starts to build upon our teeth, it can become a problem. The plaque and tartar build-up start to erode tooth enamel, which is dental decay. Ultimately, this leads to the formation of tooth cavities.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, transparent film that coats your teeth. It is caused by a diet high in sugars and starches, as well as a lack of dental hygiene. When sugars and starches are not removed from your teeth, bacteria feast on them, and plaque forms. Tartar can form when plaque remains on your teeth, either below or above the gum line. Tartar makes plaque removal more difficult and acts as a barrier for bacteria.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a hole that develops in a tooth as a result of dental decay. Cavities arise when the hard, outer coating (enamel) of a tooth is worn down or eroded by acids in the mouth. Almost everyone develops cavities, also called dental caries. They can be avoided with proper brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings.

What are tooth decay symptoms?

There are several signs such as:

  • Tooth sensitivity to extreme temperatures or sugary food
  • White or dark spots on teeth
  • Cavities
  • Tooth pain that does not go away
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth abscesses that cause pain, fever, or facial swelling
  • Frequently trapped food in teeth

What are tooth decay stages?

It occurs and worsens over time. There are five stages of dental decay. These include initial demineralization, enamel decay, dentin decay, pulp damage, and finally tooth abscess.

When the tooth is constantly exposed to acids produced by plaque, it starts to lose minerals, which are essential for the enamel. Next, the enamel begins to erode. Afterward, the decay reaches the dentin, which is the soft tissue under the enamel.

The next stage is when the decay reaches the innermost tooth layer called the pulp.

The last stage is a tooth abscess, which is the formation of a pus pocket at the bottom of the tooth.

What is tooth decay treatment?

Tooth decay treatment depends on what stage it has been detected. For example, if the tooth decay is at its earliest stage, then a fluoride treatment can work well but if you have developed a cavity, your dentist will treat it with a dental filling.

Similarly, if the abscess has formed, then either you will get a root canal treatment to remove the infection or in severe cases, the dentist removes the affected tooth.

How to stop it?

Dental decay or a cavity doesn’t go away on its own. The only way to step is to get tooth decay treatment. It will help the enamel to grow back. Not getting the treatment or delaying it will worsen the condition, and you may end up losing the impacted tooth. This will impact your smile and pose discomfort while performing mouth functions but cause great pain as well.

Can tooth decay be prevented?

If you maintain optimal dental hygiene, the chances of dental decay, plaque formation, and other oral health conditions reduce up to a great extent. Therefore, make a point to brush at least twice a day. If you wear braces, it’s recommended to brush after every meal. Furthermore, floss regularly as well. Keeping your diet healthy also goes a long way in improving dental health and overall health as well.

What does dental decay look like?

Tooth decay appears as a brownish spot on the tooth. However, you should need to visit Sue Vetter’s dental clinic so that they can diagnose the issue and offer suitable treatment.

What happens if I don’t get dental decay treated?

Leaving tooth decay untreated is never recommended. It can have dire consequences on your oral health. Furthermore, you may have to undergo invasive treatments ultimately, which may include surgical tooth extraction. Not only this but the neighboring teeth may also get impacted, resulting in an even more painful condition.

Which foods cause tooth decay?

In most cases, sugary and starchy foods are the real culprits when it comes to causing dental decay problems. For example, people who consume a lot of soda pop, potato chips, sticky candies, and white bread are more likely to develop cavities. While maintaining optimal oral hygiene help, it won’t suffice if you aren’t careful about what you eat.

Sue Vetter’s dental clinic offers quality dental services in Seattle, including tooth decay treatment. To learn more or book an appointment, please call or visit us.










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