Tooth decay (also referred to as “cavity” or “dental caries”) is one of the most popular diseases ever existed in the world. Almost anyone of us has experienced this trouble and has had it treated (most likely you find at least one dental filling in your mouth). But there are several categories of world population that have higher risk of tooth decay development: kids, teens and senior people.
Why is tooth decay such a widespread problem? Because it doesn’t take much for a cavity to build up. According to official data from leading Health Institution, a cavity can appear when the following four factors appear: tooth enamel, dental caries causing bacteria, sugars and time. Of course, there are some factors that prevent tooth decay otherwise we would suffer from it constantly. These protective and preventive factors include: normal salivation, healthy diet rich in minerals, thorough brushing (at least twice a day) flossing (at least once a day), chewing gums, eating solid fruit and veggies (like apples) to remove plaque accumulating during the day, healthy environment and lifestyle and so on.
Photo 1. Sweets are the cause of caries.
Keep in mind that decayed teeth are bad-looking and uncomfortable, so make sure you visit your dentist at least once every six months and tell about your complaints and problems. Also make sure you do enough to prevent cavities, yet there are several effective treatment options available to help you keep your smile great-looking.
The first sign of tooth decay (or caries) that you can notice at home with a naked eye are the following:
If you have noticed at least of these signs, be sure to visit your dentist and inform the specialist about it. It’s likely that you have a decayed tooth, because it’s one of the most widespread teeth problems in the world.
Photo 2. White spots on tooth enamel.
If tooth decay (or dental caries) was diagnosed, first of all you should consult the dentist to identify its causes and then to make an appointment in order to have the decayed tooth treated. Timely treatment will improve your dental health and increase the overall health condition.
When prescribing the treatment program, dentists think of the deciding factor: whether the carious lesion is cavitated or not. Another important point is making clear, whether the lesion is active or stopped.
Photo 3. Professional treatment of caries.
Noncavitated tooth decay is treated by so-called “arrest” and remineralization. In addition to that special diet, regular brushing and using special fluoride-gels are prescribed. These measures help maintaining the pH balance in the mouth and to prevent further progress of the tooth decay.
Noncavitated tooth decay means treatment without drilling (i.e. damaging the natural structures of the tooth). But this way doesn’t guarantee full “victory” over tooth cavity, because the patient should be responsible enough and stick to the rules and recommendations provided by the dentist in order to make treatment successful.
Fluoride applications in any form (be it gel, varnish or paste) is supposed to be a very effective way of tooth decay treatment used in order to prevent and “arrest” the development of tooth decay.
When the tooth decay is cavitated, and the dentine is affected — the tooth drilling and restoration take place. The restoration implies placing a filling, but if the cavity affected the nerve (what usually results in severe toothache), the treatment included root canal treatment and nerve removal. If the dentist decided that the tooth cannot be saved and restored, it is extracted. After tooth extraction dental implant crowns together with fixed bridges are applied to support the chewing function and take care of the esthetic aspect.
Photo 4. The main cause of tooth decay.
For cavity treatment in order to relieve pain and improve the psychological state of the patient local anesthetics or laughing gas are usually used. For drilling dentists usually use dental handpiece, and this procedure is performed to remove the part of decayed teeth. When the cavity is situated close to the pulp — a special spoon is used to remove the decay especially carefully.
Everyone should be aware of the fact that tooth decay treatment at early stages is quicker, less painful and less expensive than large cavity treatment. It’s another reason to see your dentist at least twice a year and regularly monitor the state of your teeth (at least what you can see with a naked eye).