Tooth Decay: Recognizing the Signs and Taking Action


You all must have gone through tooth decay at least once. You must be knowing the ill effects of having prominent cavities in your mouth. It may or may not be accompanied by pain based on the extent of decay and tooth damage. 

Here is all you must know about tooth decay and how the dentist in Leduc, Alberta strives to manage and treat the most prevalent oral disease.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay, or dental caries, is defined as the destruction of the tooth structure due to the abnormal and uncontrolled breakdown of the enamel (the outermost hard surface of the tooth) layer. Poor or improper oral hygiene leads to increased bacterial accumulation, resulting in the formation of dental plaque (soft sticky film covering the tooth surface). This produces harmful acids, toxins, and by-products, that demineralize the enamel, forming tiny holes, pits, or cavities. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain, swelling, pulpal infection, and gradual tooth loss.

What are the symptoms of tooth decay?

Symptoms of tooth decay vary depending on the extent of the damage caused. Initial tooth decay exhibits no symptoms except surface discoloration and cavity. However, moderate to severe forms  may include any one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Constant tooth pain and discomfort
  • Pain radiating to the jaw and ears
  • Increased tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, and sugary foods
  • White or dark spots on the teeth 
  • Bad breath
  • Deep cavity
  • Difficulty chewing 
  • Halitosis (bad breath) 
  • It increased gingival swelling, redness, and bleeding.

How is tooth decay managed?

Based on the symptoms and the severity of tooth decay, your dentist may recommend the following treatment options:

  • Fluoride Treatment

This treatment helps treat mild tooth decay, such as pits and fissures. Fluoride helps remineralize the enamel, which can halt tooth decay and prevent further damage. 

  • Dental Fillings

The dentist will remove the decayed tissues and restore the tooth by using an appropriate filling material or cement.

  • Root Canal Therapy

Tooth decay that extends deeper into the pulp requires extensive procedures like root canal therapy. The decayed tissue and the entire pulp are removed and replaced with a biocompatible material like gutta-percha. 

  • Tooth extraction 

Tooth decay beyond repair is mostly extracted and replaced with suitable dentures, bridges, or dental implants.

Bottom line  

Tooth decay is a widespread condition that can vary in intensity as the infection spreads to the deeper layers. Knowing the symptoms is essential to seek dental care for optimal treatment and oral rehabilitation.

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