Tooth decay is ONE thing that we all NEED to be aware of if not addressed SOON.
The need for a filling can quickly turn into a much more expensive and invasive treatment that is irreversible.
Globally, between 60–90% of schoolchildren and nearly 100% adults have tooth decay, often leading to pain and discomfort. - BMC Oral Healthy Study
What is tooth decay?
In the early stages, the decay is the “demineralization” of the enamel or result of the build-up of dental plaque, which turns sugars into acid. It starts when the tooth enamel starts to break down.
If left untreated tooth decay can quickly lead to all types of problems, such as dental caries (holes in the teeth), gum disease, dental abscesses, and even complete tooth loss.
There are six main stages of tooth decay:
1. The development of white spots which appear on the surface of the tooth due to the loss of calcium. At this early stage of tooth decay, it’s possible your dentist will be able to reverse the symptoms and help prevent further damage.
2. During the second stage of tooth decay, you can expect to see some damage to the enamel and this is when you might expect to see tooth loss.
3. If the decay moves to the dentin (i.e. the part of the tooth between the enamel and the pulp) the enamel can collapse and cause a dental cavity to form. This is usually treatable with a filling.
4. If the decay gets to the center of the tooth (sometimes referred to as the ‘pulp’) then you’re likely to experience tooth pain and can expect to receive root canal therapy.
5. If you've ignored it for too long, the decay will continue to spread requiring MORE than just a filling. Once more than 50% of the tooth structure is missing, your dentist will likely recommend a crown.
6. If totally left untreated, the last stage of tooth decay is tooth extraction.
How do I know if I’ve got tooth decay?
You might be surprised to learn that tooth decay doesn’t always cause physical pain. In fact, the more obvious symptoms of tooth decay are:
Sensitivity to cold & hot or other irritants;
Painful on biting
Dark-coloured spots appearing on your teeth;
Bleeding gums (which is sometimes evident when you brush or your teeth).
If you get any of these symptoms then it’s imperative to consult your dentist as soon as possible. Unfortunately, far too many people simply don’t pay enough attention to the early signs of tooth decay but it certainly won’t improve without medical intervention.
The cost of ignorance
As we’ve seen, medical intervention can be painful (both physically and financially!) which is why it’s so important to follow a regular oral care regime and also to consult your dentist at the very first signs of tooth decay.
If you would like to get a full dental analysis - Contact our expert team today.
Secondary source educational information gathered by the author.
About ConfiDent ® Palm Dental Clinic.
State-of-the-art restorative and cosmetic dental practice awarded Leading Implant Center in GCC and the Middle East.
Our premium class practice uses sophisticated and precision-engineered German-made technology that helps us to perform all treatments at the highest level.
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