Tooth decay or cavities can occur even if you try your best to prevent them. Many people either ignore them or attempt to put off tooth decay treatment if they do not feel any pain. But it is important to remember that tooth decay can't repair itself, and procrastinating the dental visit comes with a price: What starts as a minor problem can quickly become serious if not treated on time, leading to the need for more advanced treatment options.
Tooth decay usually begins even before a patient notices it. Decay starts with the formation of sticky bacterial plaque on your teeth that uses sugars in the foods you eat to create acids. These strong acids soften and dissolve the teeth' hard enamel and cause deep cavities if left untreated.
One frightening fact about tooth decay is that you won't notice pain and sensitivity until decay goes through the enamel into the dentin layer. Decay spreads rapidly through dentin as it is softer than enamel. Root decay also spreads fast as the cementum covering on the root is not as hard as enamel.
When decay and bacteria reach the tooth's pulp portion, a more serious condition of infection develops. The pain from an abscessed tooth is persistent and severe. Other symptoms of serious tooth infection include fever, facial swelling, and a bad taste in your mouth. The infection's consequences can be more serious if the infection spreads into your jawbone or throughout your body.
One bad cavity, if left untreated, could also lead to a second cavity before long. The tooth decay will widen and deepen, making your teeth more prone to cracking and breaking.
If your tooth decay is identified before it reaches the dentin, your dentist may suggest using mouth rinses, toothpaste, or filling materials that contain fluoride, calcium, and phosphates to repair the spot.
If the decay reaches the dentin, it needs more advanced treatment options. A small cavity can be repaired with an amalgam filling or a tooth-colored resin material. However, you may need a crown if the tooth has lost a lot of its structure. Crowns strengthen and restore shape and function to your teeth.
An abscessed tooth requires either a root canal treatment or an extraction. During the root canal process, the dentist will remove the diseased pulp and clean and seal the pulp chamber. However, your teeth can become brittle and break easily after a root canal treatment. Your dentist may also recommend a crown for your tooth if you lost a lot of tooth structure due to decay.
So, it is understood that the longer you put off dental treatment, the more involved and expensive it becomes, and the more pain you may have to bear.
Thus, it is understood that letting cavity progress has a snowball effect. Treatment is easy when cavities begin but can be much more involved and complicated if you ignore them. So, if you suspect that you have a cavity, seek immediate treatment from your dentist.
Reach out to us on-call 408-963-6678 or schedule an appointment to visit us at the first sign of trouble. Prevent decay from occurring by brushing and flossing daily and regularly visiting your dentist for a more thorough cleaning and checkup.
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